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Some Factors Associated with Urban-Rural Fertility Differentials in Mexico

A. O. Zarate
Population Studies
Vol. 21, No. 3 (Nov., 1967), pp. 283-293
DOI: 10.2307/2173147
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2173147
Page Count: 11
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Some Factors Associated with Urban-Rural Fertility Differentials in Mexico
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Abstract

Warren C. Robinson and others have presented strong evidence that a substantial portion of the variation in urban-rural fertility differentials is attributable to variations in infant and child mortality when the child-woman ratio is the index of fertility. This paper focuses on the contributions of several additional factors in accounting for variations in urban-rural fertility differentials. 1960 census data for 23 urban and rural areas in Mexico are investigated by means of correlation analysis. City growth and literacy differentials are found to be significantly related to the size of the urban-rural fertility (child-woman ratio) differential, but their effect appears to be indirect, and brought about by their association with urban-rural differentials in the sex ratio at the reproductive ages, age at marriage, and the percentage married. The latter three factors are positively related to the size of the urban-rural fertility differential. City growth is inversely related to the magnitude of the fertility differential. This analysis suggests that changes in (urban) population composition may favour higher as well as lower urban fertility and thus affect the size of the urban-rural fertility differential. If this is true, it would appear that urbanization does not necessarily lead to lower total fertility (at least in its early stages), but may lead to the modification of certain demographic characteristics which formerly favoured lower urban fertility. The long-run effects of urbanization are more difficult to assess, but it is suggested that migrants to urban areas may require several generations to manifest lower fertility. This would constitute an additional factor favouring higher urban fertility. The possible contribution of changing mortality conditions is also considered.

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