The Impact of the Community on Spacing and Stopping in India

Sowmya Rajan, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

In this paper, I use two waves of cross-sectional data from the National Family Health Surveys from India to investigate the disjuncture between fertility preferences and contraceptive use behavior among young women. I focus on young women in India because they are typically married off early and have little social status to be able to control their reproductive behavior. Results demonstrate not only the strong effect of community factors on the spacing and stopping behavior of young women, but also the salience of different aspects of community factors over the two survey periods. While community norms have powerful effects on the stopping behavior of young women, the socioeconomic characteristics of the community are better able to explain their spacing behavior in both years.

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Presented in Session 144: Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health: Causes and Consequences