A Longitudinal Analysis of Aggregate Fertility Decline as a Product of Increasing Contraceptive Prevalence

Layton M. Field, Mount St. Mary's University

The human population has experienced tremendous growth over the past 300 hundred years. By 1800 the world reached 1 billion people; in but 210 years another six billion people were added to the population. Interestingly, a simultaneous population trend emerged in the 1960’s, namely, fertility decline. This paper addresses the fertility decline reported in 178 countries between 1960 and 2011 drawing on data from the World Bank Data Bank. This paper focuses on the role of contraceptive prevalence in facilitating the vast fertility decline observed over this time period by estimating multilevel quadratic growth curve models to analyze the effect of contraceptive prevalence on total fertility rates among countries. The results document the substantial fertility decline over this time period and indicate that contraceptive prevalence is a significant predictor of fertility decline even after controlling for known correlates of fertility decline such as development, urbanization, economic growth, and declining mortality.

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Presented in Session 28: Fertility in the Demographic Transition