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John E. Knodel photo

Thailand's Continuing Reproductive Revolution

Publication Abstract

Knodel, John E., N. Debavalya, and P. Kamnuansilpa. 1980. "Thailand's Continuing Reproductive Revolution." International Family Planning Perspectives, 6(3): 84-96.

The dramatic reductions in fertility in Thailand and the spread of family planning that began in the early 1970s have continued in the second half of the decade, although four-fifths of the work force is still engaged in agriculture, and, as other conventional indicators show, social and economic development are not particularly advanced. Marital fertility in Thailand declined almost 40 percent between 1969 and 1979, one of the steepest drops recorded in the developing world, with the decline divided equally between the first and second halves of the decade. Declines occurred in both urban and rural areas, with those in rural areas proportionately sharper than those in the cities. Family size desires fell in both urban and rural areas. If younger Thai women succeed in having only the number of children they desire, total fertility rates will soon fall below three children per woman, compared to levels of more than six per woman in the recent past. These changes have been accompanied by dramatice increases in contraceptive knowledge and use. An active national family planning program is the source of contraceptive supply for the majority of Thai couples, and has undoubtedly been a major contributor to the overall decline in fertility during the last decade.

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