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Family Size and the Education of Children in the Context of Rapid Fertility Decline

Publication Abstract

Knodel, John E., Napaporn Havanon, and Werasit Sittitrai. "Family Size and the Education of Children in the Context of Rapid Fertility Decline." PSC Research Report No. 89-155. 9 1989.

This paper examines the relation of children's education to rapidly declining fertility in Thailand. The report is based on research undertaken as part of the Project on Socio-economic Consequences of Fertility Decline for the Thai Family. The goal of this project is to examine the perceived and objective consequences of the number of children a couple has for the socio-economic welfare of the family in Thailand and to infer from this the consequences of the recent decline in fertility. Its methods include both survey and focus group components. This specific study, which focused on education, involved a total of 612 couples, evenly divided between those with small and those with large families and almost evenly divided between two research sites purposively selected to take advantage of differences in the maturity of the fertility transition. The study focused primarily on two measures of educational attainment: (1) the proportion who have entered or are likely to enter lower secondary school and (2) the proportion who have entered or are likely to enter upper secondary schooling. Results show that children from smaller families attain higher levels of education on the average than children from larger families. Moreover, among large families, the extent of education is inversely associated with the number of children. Thus very substantial differences are apparent between children from small families and those from the largest families.

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