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Fertility and Child Spacing among the Urban Poor in a Third World City: The Case of Calcutta, India

Annapurna Shaw
Human Ecology
Vol. 16, No. 3 (Sep., 1988), pp. 329-342
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4602890
Page Count: 14
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Fertility and Child Spacing among the Urban Poor in a Third World City: The Case of Calcutta, India
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Abstract

Studies of fertility behavior in the Third World have relied heavily on two variables, income and education, to explain variations in fertility rates. If the socio-economic variables traditionally employed to account for variations in fertility rates are invariant, what other factors could influence fertility rates and child spacing? On the basis of data from 180 slum households in Calcutta, India, the paper indicates that in a situation where material and social conditions are comparable, cultural and demographic variables play a major role in influencing reproductive behavior. In this case study, caste and family type are shown to have a significant effect on the numbers of surviving children. As regards child spacing, the woman's age is of paramount importance.

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