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Economic development has been key in reducing fertility rates.

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Introduction

´╗┐Fertility rates became an increasingly important aspect of population planning amongst governments, especially in the less developed worlds. Governments aim to manage their population size within the carrying capacities of their countries. One of the pre-conditions for a fertility decline is economic development. Economic progress and growth has been imperative in bringing down fertility rates to healthier levels near the 2.1 replacement level. However, economic development cannot function alone and would require other social changes such as emancipation of women and population policies to occur in tandem with it to achieve more significant results. Nevertheless, economic development is a key factor in reducing fertility rates. With the establishment of modern economic growth, fertility has tended to decline by reducing the need to have children. The demographic transition model (DTM) suggests that in countries that develop from a pre-industrial to an industrialised economic system, long-term increases in economic wealth and income per capita are combined with a transition from high to low birth and death rates. First across high income countries starting largely in the last quarter of the nineteenth century, and then occurring even more rapidly across most low income countries in the last quarter of the twentieth century. ...read more.

Middle

The status of women with regards to both work and education is different in differing countries with various cultures. Due to greater and more equal opportunities nowadays, the cultural and social restraint on women is far less than it used to be. More women are employed, make independent decisions, and as such the age of marriage increases. Women who are highly educated with stable careers tend to have lower fertility rates, and with later marriages, fecundity is also likely to fall. This is evident in the South Indian state of Kerala, which saw a successful TFR decline from 4.1 in 1970 to about 1.7 now. With a high literacy rate of 88%, women in Kerala are even valued as assets who bring a bride price to their families. More highly educated women are more likely to be engaged in paid employment outside the home. An educated woman is likely to take into account the loss of income that will result from having more children and may therefore decide not to have large numbers of children. Besides this opportunity cost, better educated women also feel it necessary to spend more time with children and are less likely to leave young children in the care of older siblings. ...read more.

Conclusion

Many of these successes in fertility reduction have been accompanied by economic growth, increasing education levels and an overall rise in affluence. This in turn has caused the cost of living to rise, as well as the social status of women to increase in standing, requiring smaller family units. Perhaps the governments? anti-natal policies have only assisted in speeding up this trend which has been already underway. Thus, population policies can affect fertility to some extent, though it may be catalysed by a country?s economic development. Thus, it can be seen that fertility decline is indeed an inevitable consequence of economic development. Though, female emancipation and population policies is not directly related to economic development, the root cause of these factors is still the development of one?s economy. Economic development is a given in order for the increased social status of women as people in LDCs often hold cultural beliefs that men should have more rights compared to women. Thus only though economic development can one undergoes education and understands the rationale behind the importance of the emancipation of women in these countries. Other factors such as female emancipation and anti-natalist policies have played key roles in fertility decline; however they have been enabled and made more effective by economic development. 1232 Words ...read more.

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