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Fertility reduction: does poverty matter?

S.K Mohanty, International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS)

Fertility decline in sub-Saharan Africa, Thailand, Nepal and Bangladesh amid economic crises had added to the debate of population and poverty and calls for reconsidering the relationship of poverty and fertility decline in the frame work of rational thinking leading to behavioral change. The fertility transition in India and some of the economically backward states added to this debate. Using the data of three rounds of National Family and Health Survey in India, this paper tests the hypothesis that the fertility preferences and fertility level of the poor has been fast declining and that of contraceptive use is increasing fast, at least in some parts of the country. Results indicate that the rich-poor gap in the fertility preferences indicators, fertility levels and contraceptive use has narrowed down during 1992-2006 in the poverty ridden state like Orissa as well as the economically progressive state of Maharashtra.

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Presented in Session 142: Poverty and fertility linkages