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Poverty and Fertility: A Review of Theory and Evidence
Economic and Political Weekly
Vol. 18, No. 19/21, Annual Number (May, 1983), pp. 865-867+869+871+873+875-876
Published by: Economic and Political Weekly
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4372129
Page Count: 8
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There are two distinct but related aspects of the association between poverty and fertility which have been discussed widely in the literature on development. The first concerns a comparison between countries at various stages of development, while the second relates to differences between poor and rich families within poor countries. There is some confusion in the literature on fertility in relation to levels of living and development, which can be traced to a mixing up of these two-macro and micro-aspects of the relationship. Why do birth rates in poor countries tend to be high? This is a social (or macro) question, but since children are born within families, the answers are sought for in family behaviour. It is not surprising therefore that theories of fertility are micro theories based on family attitudes, etc. Do the poor produce more children per couple than do the rich? The question which theory investigates-why do the poor produce more children?-arises only if the answer to the previous question is in the affirmative. There are masses of data which help us to give an answer. But perhaps due to their abundance, the data are full of ambiguity and seem to have been misinterpreted.
Economic and Political Weekly © 1983 Economic and Political Weekly