Abstract

This study empirically investigates the relationship between the economic structure of populations and their level of fertility, using data from censuses recently conducted in some 50 nations. Findings show that high rates of female labor force participation outside the home and low rates of economic activity of children depress a society’s fertility level, as measured by the crude birth rate or the child-woman ratio. It is also hypothesized, but not confirmed, that the per cent of unpaid family workers in a society is positively related to its fertility level. A model is presented that treats these three components of economic structure as intervening variables through which the exogenous variables, urbanization, industrialization, and education, operate in influencing the fertility level of a society.

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