The Malaysian Family Life Survey

Summary Report

by William Butz, Julie DaVanzo

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Abstract

Part of a series describing a sample survey and subsequent research on how economic and institutional factors influence birthspacing, family size, and breastfeeding in Malaysia, this report summarizes the surveying, data preparation, and the initial research findings. The project’s goal was to identify factors amenable to public policy influence that directly or indirectly affect fertility outcomes. Some broad conclusions can be drawn from the project: (1) The survey’s successful completion and organization of data show that similar surveys can be conducted in other less developed countries. (2) Retrospective life history surveys and time use surveys — the most innovative parts of the survey — can produce reliable data that support detailed statistical analyses of family behavior in less developed countries. (3) The analyses yield empirical evidence about the roles of particular community factors and public programs in contributing to changes indicated by the data.

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