Fertility decline under poverty: the case of the Bangladesh fertility transition

Simeen Mahmud, Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS)

Bangladesh entered the third phase of classic demographic transition by the late 1990s but was by no means near replacement level fertility which heralds the end of transition. The Bangladesh transition is noteworthy in many ways, not the least because fairly high percapita income growth enjoyed by Bangladesh today has only been possible because the poor have opted for smaller families. However, despite contributing significantly in the transition the poor lose out from enjoying the ‘demographic bonus’ of reduced fertility levels because they are unable to strike a favourable trade-off between smaller families and greater investment in children. Women also bear an inequitable share of the burden of fertility limitation without always reaping the benefits of lower birth rates. This not only poses a serious equity concern for social and economic policy, but has considerable implication for population policy aimed at sustaining reduced population growth rates and achieving replacement fertility.

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Presented in Session 184: Population and poverty (2)