Education and urbanization are shown to have been negatively correlated to marital fertility in both urban and rural China prior to the initiation of the substantial family planning programs. We maintain that early use of contraception by better educated and urban strata is a plausible cause of the observed fertility differentials because other proximate variables are unlikely. Coale’s m, a presumed indicator of controlled fertility, suggests early fertility control in urban and better educated strata. The apparent preprogram beginnings of fertility control among educational and urban elites does not, however, minimize the awesome effects on fertility of the powerful Chinese family planning programs, once begun.

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