Women’s human capital and fertility convergence in Asian countries

Hatam Hosseini, Bu Ali Sina University

Asian countries during the last 50 years have experienced different fertility levels and trends. Today, different parts of the Asia have different fertility levels. Despite diversity in fertility levels, tremendous fertility decline have been experienced during the last three decades. This study is a secondary analysis. Statistical population composed of 24 East, South East, and South Central Asian countries. Data used is mostly taken from the United Nations Population Division (2009), and Asian Demographic and Human Capital Data Sheet (2008). The aim of this paper is to study the fertility levels and trends of these countries during 1970-2010, their convergence with world fertility, timing and intensity of fertility decline, and finally changes in Women’s Human Capital (WHC) and its role in fertility convergence, controlling for the effect of contraception. Results show that more than 70 percent of countries were in natural fertility situation in the first half of 1970s. After 1970, differences between countries' fertility levels with world fertility, have been narrowed gradually, so that from 1990, in more than 85 percent of the countries, fertility rates reduced to below world's fertility level. Pakistan, Laos, Tajikestan, and Philippine are only countries with higher fertility levels comparing to that of world's in 2005-2010, and the value of their index of convergence is negative. According to findings, there are apparent differences among countries in Women’s Human Capital in 1970 and 2010. Results of the correlation analysis show that the intensity of the correlation between WHC and fertility in 2007 is more than corresponding value in 1970. In fact, despite the differences in Women’s Human Capital levels, countries reached to a homogenous fertility regime in 2007. Findings support the results of previous research about the convergence of fertility in different socio-economic contexts.

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Presented in Poster Session 1