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Stages of the Demographic Transition from a Child's Perspective: Family Size, Cohort Size, and Children's Resources

Publication Abstract

Download PDF versionLam, David, and Leticia Marteleto. 2006. "Stages of the Demographic Transition from a Child's Perspective: Family Size, Cohort Size, and Children's Resources." PSC Research Report No. 06-591. March 2006.

This paper provides a new characterization of stages of the demographic transition, describing it from a child’s perspective. These stages describe the sequence of changes in family and cohort sizes that affect children’s resources. In Stage 1, falling mortality produces increases in surviving family size and in the size of birth cohorts. In Stage 2, falling fertility overtakes falling mortality to produce declining family size, but population momentum causes continued growth in cohort size. In Stage 3, falling fertility overtakes population momentum to produce declining cohort size. We apply our framework to census microdata for Brazil, Kenya, Mexico, and Vietnam, focusing on children aged 9-11. Brazil was still in Stage 1 during the 1960s, was in Stage 2 from roughly 1970 to 1982, and has been in Stage 3 since 1982, the year in which the largest birth cohort was born. Mexico and Vietnam have also entered Stage 3, with declines in both the family size of children aged 9-11 and in the absolute number of 9-11 year-olds. Kenya also experienced declines in children’s family size between 1989 and 1999, but will not experience the declining cohort size for at least another decade.

Countries of focus: Brazil, Kenya, Mexico, Vietnam.

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