|dc.description.abstract||This study uncovered the causes of fertility stalls in Bangladesh. A fertility stall occurs when fertility rate levels off or increases following a trend of decline. Fertility in Bangladesh has declined rapidly since the mid-1970s, but in this time the country experienced two fertility stalls. The first stall occurred at 3.3 births per woman during 1996-2000, and the second stall occurred at 2.3 births per woman during 2011-2014. Those stalls in fertility decline have created a substantial barrier to lowering the population growth of Bangladesh. My research aimed to uncover the causes of these fertility stalls.
My study investigated the causes of fertility stalls in three analyses. First, I compared the trends in fertility predictors in fertility-stalling regions with those in fertility-declining regions. In the second analysis, the trends in fertility predictors during the fertility-stalling periods were compared with those during the fertility-declining periods. The third analysis compared the characteristics of the women who progressed to a higher parity with the characteristics of the women who did not progress to that selected parity in the stalling periods.
The study’s main sources of data are the Demographic and Health Survey Programme surveys conducted in Bangladesh, India and Pakistan between 1993 and 2014. Additional data was sourced from the World Bank and World Population Policies databases. Data was analysed using multilevel mixed-effect logistic regression analysis, probit regression analysis, chi-square test, t-test, and proximate determinants modelling.
Findings of my study revealed that both fertility stalls in Bangladesh were associated with a stall in the use of birth control reflected in the stall of induced abortion during both the stalls, while a near stall in contraceptive use was the additional factor during the second stall. The increasing fertility-inhibiting effect of contraceptives was offset during the first stall by a declining length of postpartum infecundability, and during the second stall by a declining fertility-inhibiting effect of marriage. Along with these, stalls in modern contraceptive uses were found to significantly influence the fertility stalls in the regions of the country. The stall and near stall in the use of birth controls in Bangladesh mainly stemmed from the stall in desired number of children, which is evident in both fertility stalls of the country. In the context of Bangladesh, stalls in the use of birth controls and demand for children were each strongly associated with deteriorating family planning services. This was mainly reflected in a near stall in unmet need for family planning during the first stall, and a decline in the demand for family planning during the second stall. During both the stalls, an experience of child mortality significantly influenced Bangladeshi women to have a larger family. Along with the experience of child mortality, the socio-economic factors that were most closely associated with the first fertility stall in Bangladesh include a decline in female labour force participation, whereas during the second stall, not having any education, living in a rural area, and being Muslim were found to significantly influence the women to have a larger family. Sex preferences, in particular preference for a son, did not show any consistent link to either stall.
It can be concluded that further decline in fertility of Bangladesh will depend on a substantial increase in the demand for and use of birth control. In the existing context of Bangladesh, lowering the desire for children along with the reduction of child mortality is expected to play a pivotal role in increasing that demand for birth control, while meeting that demand in a timely manner will help increase their use faster.||