The crude birth rate for the Tunisian population in 1967–68 is estimated to be about ten percent lower than in 1961–65 although the rates are subject to a wide margin of error. Unless the birth registration system is becoming steadily worse or unless the Tunisian population has been decreasing in size, however, the birth rate has fallen; births registered in 1967 or in 1968 were fewer in number than births registered in 1964, 1965, or 1966. The downturn in the crude birth rate occurred shortly after an official national family planning program was inaugurated. Estimates of births averted by contraceptive use, however, suggest that only about one third of the decrease in the rate could be attributed to accomplishments of the program. Occurring at the same time were changes in the age structure which led to smaller numbers of women in the peak reproductive ages and changes in the social status of women which included a sharp reduction in the proportion married in the age group 15–19.

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