Abstract

Data from a five percent census sample reveal that in Guatemala City in 1964 economically active women, especially domestic servants, had lower cumulative fertility than inactive women, partly because larger proportions of them had never married and were childless. However, even among ever married mothers there was a substantial differential, which was not due to differences in age at first birth. With respect to all women, cross tabulation and regression analysis show that age, marital status and educational attainment were more strongly associated with fertility than was activity status, but the latter also had a significant net association. Selection for sterility was not likely. Being contrary to expectations expressed in the literature, the very low fertility of the domestics received further attention. Live-in domestics had considerably lower fertility than those who lived out, which was also the case in the United States in 1960. These data and other evidence strongly suggest that this differential is due to a widespread employer preference for single or childless women. The concept of role incompatibility is therefore inapplicable to domestic servants. These findings add to the considerable evidence showing lower fertility among economically active women in large urban places in Latin America.

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