The Impact of Childhood Mortality Change on Fertility in Two Rural Districts of Bangladesh

James F. Phillips, Population Council
Mian B. Hossain, Morgan State University

Childhood mortality has been shown to covary with fertility levels in several settings. The causal structure of the relationship between child mortality events and subsequent fertility, however, is often poorly understood. To address this issue, this paper uses twelve years of prospective longitudinal event history data on births and deaths occurring to nearly 8,000 women observed in the Bangladesh Maternal and Child Health and Family Planning Project. Observations span the 1982 to 1992 period, a time in the recent history of Bangladesh in which both childhood mortality and fertility were declining. Discrete-time event history analysis is employed to assess the effect of infant and childhood deaths on subsequent odds of parity progression, controlling for background characteristics of mothers. Results show that the effect of mortality on fertility increases as the overall level of mortality declines. Implications of this finding for policy are reviewed and discussed.

Presented in Session 10: Fertility Impact of Mortality Change