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    073116

    Fertility in urban squatter settlements in Jordan: a microeconomic analysis.

    Elwan AE

    Ann Arbor, Michigan, University Microfilms International, 1989. [5], iii, 139 p. (Order No. 8923677)

    A population of low-income urban squatter households in Amman, Jordan, many of whom are migrants, is used to investigate the degree to which fertility has been affected by exposure to the influence of an urban environment. The data are provided by 2 surveys, carried out in 1981 and 1985, before and after a substantial upgrading program was carried out. The program included the provision of physical and social infrastructure (paved roads, piped water and sewerage, electricity, community centers, and women's training centers, etc.). Since the program also provided the opportunity for households to purchase the land on which they had settled, it represented altogether a substantial change in living conditions and choices for the study population. The surveys thus allowed the investigation of the effects of land ownership on fertility; the factors involved were those such as ethnic background, presence of extended family members in the household, as well as urban exposure. The aspects of fertility which were investigated were: cumulative fertility--analyzed using ordinary least squares (OLS) regression on cross-sectoral data; contraceptive use--examined using logit and probit analysis as well as OLS, on a subsample of the study population; and current fertility--investigated using Poisson regression to analyze the number of children born between the 2 surveys and the open interval at the time of the 2nd survey to analyze OLS regression. The various analyses do not support a hypothesis of urban exposure per se as being negatively associated with fertility. Apart from the expected findings regarding the biological variables included (age, marital status), and the pervasive negative effect of women's education, the variables tested tend to influence fertility in a direction contrary to expectation. "Higher status" variables such as land ownership, skilled occupation of household head, and income, tend to operate in the direction of allowing larger numbers of children. Contraceptive use levels are higher than would be expected on the basis of observed fertility levels, but are much lower than the potential need for birth spacing, given the relatively large proportion of the women surveyed who did not desire a pregnancy. What emerges, essentially, is that those households studied still either have a large desired family size, due possibly to cultural factors not seen in the analysis (those that would affect the entire population) or that their altered perceptions concerning number of children have not yet been translated into lower fertility. The main policy implications for this population are: changes in dwelling ownership, household head's job status, and household income are unlikely to, on their own, have a strong negative impact on fertility in the shortterm. There is considerable scope, however, for reducing fertility among the older age groups. In view of the likelihood of a decline in breastfeeding popularity, the potential demand for birth spacing, and the positive correlation between contraceptive use and income in the study population, reductions in cost and increased availability of contraceptive methods as part of a healthcare program would likely be beneficial. (author's modified)
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