This thesis reports on a study of married women in Matlab, a rural area of
Bangladesh. On the basis of both cross-sectional (quantitative and qualitative) and
longitudinal data from the treatment and comparison areas, the study investigated
reproductive preferences and their determinants, intensity of desire for more children
and contraceptive use, reliability of preferences in predicting subsequent fertility and
change in preferences over time.
Desired family size, ideal family size and...[Show more] desire for more children were similar in
the treatment and comparison areas; sociocultural differentials in desired family size
and desire for more children were also absent. Desired family size declined by about
25 per cent over the period 1975-90 in each area and the decline was more marked
for sons than for daughters; the decline was homogeneous across the woman's age
and number of living children categories. For those who changed their preferences
from wanting more children in 1984 to wanting no more in 1990, the interim birth
had no influence on subsequent change.
There were no sociocultural differentials in use of contraception except by religion in
the treatment area among those who wanted no more children either in 1984 or 1990,
while in the comparison area there were differentials by religion in 1984 and by
education of woman in 1990. Among women who wanted a child after one year, the
sociocultural differential in use of contraception existed in the treatment area in 1984
but disappeared in 1990 while in the comparison area the differentials existed by
possession of items in 1984 and by education of woman in 1990. Among those who
wanted a child after one year, use of contraception was lower for those who had no
son than for those who had one or more sons in each year in the treatment area, but
only in 1990 in the comparison area. The abortion ratio was higher for those who wanted no more children than for those who wanted more, and higher in the
comparison area than in the treatment area.
At the aggregate level intended fertility and actual fertility were closer in the
treatment area than in the comparison area. However, accuracy at the aggregate level
depends to a large extent on many counterbalancing inconsistencies on the part of
individuals. In both the areas those who wanted no more children had fewer
subsequent births than those who wanted more, while those who wanted no more
children had fewer births if their husbands also wanted no more than if the husbands
wanted more. In the comparison area subsequent births occurred homogeneously
across sociocultural subgroups, but in the treatment area there were fewer births
among the better-off, among users of contraception and among Hindus. For women
who wanted the next child 'soon' the inconsistency levels were similar in the two
areas, but for those who wanted the next child 'not so early' the inconsistency level
was higher in the comparison area than in the treatment area; however, sociocultural
differentials in inconsistency were largely absent.
Items in Open Research are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.