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Theories of Fertility Decline: A Reappraisal

Archived Abstract of Former PSC Researcher

Freedman, Ronald. "Theories of Fertility Decline: A Reappraisal." Social Forces, 58, no. 1 (September 1979): 1-17.

Demographic transition theory and its implicit assumptions are reexamined. Questions are raised about its pertinence for fertility decline in the West. For less developed countries today, it is suggested that motivation for fertility decline can arise from (a) subsets of objective changes much less than those that characterized the West and (b) new ideas and aspirations arising from worldwide communications networks. It is suggested that the concept and means of family limitations have an additional independent effect, once motivation is present. Country examples are considered to illustrate the idea that there are multiple pathways to fertility decline and that fertility decline is occurring in situations not envisaged in the classical demographic transition theory.


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