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Fertility trends and prospects in East and South-East Asian countries and implications for policies and programmes.
POPULATION RESEARCH LEADS. 1991; (39):1-17.Fertility trends and prospects for east and southeast Asian countries including cities in China, Taiwan, the Republic of Korea, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Myanmar, and Viet Nam are described. Additional discussion focuses on family planning methods, marriage patterns, fertility prospects, theories of fertility change, and policy implications for the labor supply, labor migrants, increased female participation in the labor force (LFP), human resource development, and social policy measures. Figures provide graphic descriptions of total fertility rates (TFRS) for 12 countries/areas for selected years between 1960-90, TFR for selected Chinese cities between 1955-90, the % of currently married women 15-44 years using contraception by main method for selected years and for 10 countries, actual and projected TFR and annual growth rates between 1990-2020 for Korea and Indonesia. It is noted that the 1st southeast Asian country to experience a revolution in reproductive behavior was Japan with below replacement level fertility by 1960. This was accomplished by massive postponement in age at marriage and rapid reduction in marital fertility. Fertility was controlled primarily through abortion. Thereafter every southeast Asian country experienced fertility declines. Hong Kong, Penang, Shanghai, Singapore, and Taipei and declining fertility before the major thrust of family planning (FP). Chinese fertility declines were reflected in the 1970s to the early 1980s and paralleled the longer, later, fewer campaign and policy which set ambitious targets which were strictly enforced at all levels of administration. Korea and Taiwan's declines were a result of individual decision making to restrict fertility which was encouraged by private and government programs to provide FP information and subsidized services. The context was social and economic change. Indonesia's almost replacement level fertility was achieved dramatically through the 1970s and 1980s by institutional change in ideas about families and schooling and material welfare, changes in the structure of governance, and changes in state ideology. Thailand's decline began in the 1960s and is attributed to social change, change in cultural setting, demand, and FP efforts. Modest declines characterize Malaysia and the Philippines, which have been surpassed by Myanmar and Viet Nam. The policy implications are that there are shortages in labor supply which can be remedied with labor migration, pronatalist policy, more capital intensive industries, and preparation for a changing economy.
HEALTH FOR THE MILLIONS. 1991 Dec; 17(5):24-5.While there may be no documented evidence that mortality decline is a causative factor in demographic transition, there is a close association between reductions in mortality and fertility. The Indian experience of more than 40 years shows that consistent efforts in the promotion of family planning will be rewarded with demographic transition. In the Indian state of Kerala, population 30 million, improving child survival, female literacy, strict child labor laws, and effective high coverage primary health care reduced mortality and fertility. Its infant mortality rate is 22/100 births, which is 25% of the national average. Its birth rate is 20/1000 and is continuing to fall. In the past decade population growth was only 14% compared to 25% nationally and 28% in the northern states. If Kerala's figures were applied to all of India, there would be 2 million less infant deaths and 8 million less births. The impact of reducing infant mortality on population growth in raw numbers in insignificant. With a mortality rate of 150/1000 there are 850 survivors. If the mortality rate is cut in half there will be only a .18% increase in population, but with a 50% reduction in infant suffering and death. Historically such mortality declines are associated with a 25% or more decline in fertility. This is the reason that UNICEF has been a long-time advocate of child survival programs as an integral part of population control measures. Euthanasia is surely not the solution to the population problem. The daily loss of 40,000 childhood lives is a tragic part of the human experience. However, helping these children to become and stay healthy is the best method of reducing population.
Population et Societes. 1991 Dec; (263):1-3.This work contrasts 2 world population atlases published in 1991, 1 the work of a demographer and the other of a geographer. Both works synthesize the concepts of demography as it is currently practiced. The work by the geography, Daniel Noin, (Atlas of World Population) has a more detailed bibliography and glossary and concentrates on the contemporary population situation. The other work (The Population of the World. From Antiquity to 2050), by Jean-Claude Chesnais, takes a historic approach. The 2 works are complementary and neither raises ecological alarms. They stress different issues in their conclusions, Chesnais asking whether the nations of Europe can compensate for their loss of demographic and economic power by regrouping into an entity large enough to maintain influence, Noin identifying fertility decline in the poor countries as the major current demographic challenge. Both authors use the same analytical instrument and rely on UN statistics. The UN, since its origin, has been the site of a confrontation between 2 schools of demographic thought, the American which is preoccupied with rapid population growth in the poor countries, and the French, which stresses fertility decline and demographic aging in the developed countries. The analytical instrument in both cases is the theory of demographic transition, on which both authors have already written. The 2 authors classify the countries differently, 1 identifying 5 stages of transition and the other 3 stages and 8 types of countries. Agreement on the basic phenomenon of the transition is accompanied by some difference of interpretation.