The idea that mortality decline precipitates fertility decline is a linchpin of demographic transition theory. At the aggregate level, two questions have focused on the demographic future of developing countries: Would fertility declines accompany mortality declines? How would population growth rates change as mortality declined? Stimulating interest at the family level is the notion that a couple's fertility is in part a product of the mortality environment in which they are building a family. Study results show that for certain groups of women, a child's death changes the fertility pattern of subsequent interval lengths relative to that pattern when a child survives. However, the changes are small in magnitude. It is unlikely that they have serious implications for completed levels of fertility or contribute to poor health for mothers or their offspring.
Originally published in: From Death to Birth: Mortality Decline and Reproductive Change, pp. 316-338.
This report is part of the RAND Corporation Reprint series. The Reprint was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1992 to 2011 that represented previously published journal articles, book chapters, and reports with the permission of the publisher. RAND reprints were formally reviewed in accordance with the publisher's editorial policy and compliant with RAND's rigorous quality assurance standards for quality and objectivity. For select current RAND journal articles, see External Publications.
Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/principles.
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.