Fertility Patterns and Their Determinants in the Arab Middle East.

by T. P. Schultz

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This analysis of the Arab Middle East investigates the factors affecting birth rates, and the policies reducing unwanted births and influencing parents to seek fewer births. Analysis proceeds on the assumption that population growth does not follow Malthusian law, but varies in response to environmental factors such as opportunities for schooling of women, income, and child labor practices. A multivariate model is developed that accounts for three areas of jointly determined family behavior: the prevalence of marriage, the rate of female participation in the labor force, and the level of surviving fertility. Estimates of this model for the United Arab Republic (UAR) in 1960 are reported and interpreted as confirmation of the environmental determination of fertility. To date, population programs are lacking in the Middle East, except in the UAR. Such programs could involve more than the dissemination of birth control information and supplies; they can also coordinate national priorities in health, education, and welfare policies to foster the more rapid adoption of smaller family size goals. 125 pp. Bibliog.

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