The Latin root word is fertilis, "bearing in abundance or fruitful,"
from ferre, "to bear."
The ability to conceive and bear children, the ability to become
pregnant through normal sexual activity.
Fertility is the ability to have babies or to reproduce.
When fertility rates in a community increase, more babies are born.
The ratio of live births in an area to the population of that area;
expressed per 1000 population per year
Fertility can be ascertained from statistics of births. The study of
fertility does not indicate the level of fecundity for which there is no
What is fecundity?
According to Thompson and Lewis. “fecundity is a biological
potential the physiological capacity to participate in
reproduction. The absence of this potential is known as in
fecundity or sterility.” it is capacity to conceive or bear
Definition of Terms
Fertility = Production of a live birth (natality)
Infertility = Inability to produce a live birth
Parity = Number of children born alive to a woman
Gravidity = Number of pregnancies a woman has had whether or not
they produce a live birth
Fecundity = Physiological capacity to conceive (reproductive potential)
Infecundity (sterility) = Inability of a woman to conceive a pregnancy
- Primary sterility = Never able to conceive a pregnancy
- Secondary sterility= Inability to conceive after one or more children have
Fecundability = Probability that a woman will conceive during a
Fertility behavior of a given time gives shape to the future
Studying the fertility behavior has an implication on the
overall welfare planning process
Produce the alterations in the size of a population
Sources of Data:
1. Registration of vital events
2. Sample Registration System (SRS)
3. National Family Health Surveys (NFHS)
FACTORS AFFECTING FERTILITY
Indirect social factors
1. Age of marriage
3. Separation and
5. Post partum
7. Frequency of
Direct factors influencing
1. Oral pills
Other social factors
1. Food supply
2. Economic conditions
3. Family system
4. Social status of women
and level of education
5. Political system
6. Attitude towards
7. Desire to maintain
1. Age of marriage e.g. marriage generally is younger in sub Saharan Africa than Europe.
2. Monogamy/Pologamy (e.g. muslims having more than one wife)
4. Spousal separation (i.e away working elsewhere e.g. urban migrants in LEDCs.
5. Coital frequency (how often you have sex)
6. Post birth abstinence (not wanting sex after a child)
7. Natural sterility (Inability to conceive or have a child)
8. Pathological sterility (Disease related due to infections e.g. gonorrhoea)
9. Lactational amenorrhea (can’t get pregnant whilst breast feeding
10. Contraceptive use
11. Spontaneous abortion
12. Induced abortion
13. Emancipation of women/status of women (Freedom)/ religious beliefs/literacy rates.
14. Government policies- (see sheet)
15. The value of children
16. Ways in which birth rates can be changed.
17. Economic cost of children
18. Level of education
19. Nature of Employment
20. Type of residence
21. Religious beliefs
22. Health care
23. Family status.
Uses of Measures Of Fertility
Quantify the birth performance of a population over a
period of time.
Used to compare the fertility levels of a number of
population, during a particular time interval
Exhibit a time trend in fertility in a population in the study
of differential fertility by various socio-economic, racial
and ethnic groups.
1. Crude Birth Rate
This is the number of live births per 1,000 population in a given year.
Number of live births X 1000
Births are only one component of population change, and the birth rate
should not be confused with the growth rate, which includes all
components of change.
2. General Fertility Rate
The GFR (also called the fertility rate) is the number of live
births per 1,000 and uses the number of women of child
bearing age (15-49) in a population as a base for the
calculation of a BR rather than the total population. In it
only population of reproductive age group is taken into
Is the number of live births per 1000 women in the
reproductive age group (15-49 years) in a specific year.
Number of live births
Number of women ages 15- 49
3. Age Specific Fertility Rate
Number of births per 1000 women of a specific age (group)
in a given year. Fertility rates is calculated for specific age
groups to see differences in fertility behavior at different
ages or for comparison over time.
Age specific fertility rate (ASFR) is a measure of the
number of children born to each age group, in relation to
the number of woman in that age group Seven age groups
are conventionally used across the span 15-49 years. ASFRs
are normally expressed as per 1000 women in each age
4. Total Fertility Rates
The average number of children that would be born to a woman by the
time she ended childbearing, if she were to pass through all her
childbearing years conforming to the age-specific fertility rates of a
TFR = ΣASFR / 1,000
5.Gross Reproduction Rate (GRR)
Average number of daughters that would
be born to a woman (or a group of women) if she survived at
least to the age of 49 and conformed to the age-specific
fertility rate of a given year. It is often regarded as the extent
to which the generation of daughters replaces the preceding
generation of females.
GRR is restricted to the number of female children. The
value of GR is ½ of the total FR.
No. of female Births
Total No. of Births
6.Cumulative fertility rate.
It is just like TFR with the only difference is that this
rate indicates the number of children produced by
1000 women during whole fertility period.
Children Ever Born (CEB)
This is computed from censuses or sample surveys by asking women
their age and number of live births they ever had (including those having
died since birth)
Provides one measure of population fertility
Useful only if age group of women is considered
Data can be used by demographers to indirectly estimate ASFR and TFR
in a population.
CEB for women over age 49 is called Completed Fertility Rate; it
shows how many children on average a certain cohort of women who
have completed childbearing actually produced during their childbearing
The mean parity for a cohort of women who have
completed their fertility is that cohort’s TFR
Gross Reproduction Rate (GRR)
The number of female births an average woman would
have if she lived through the end of her reproductive
Net Reproduction Rate (NRR)
The average number of daughters that female members
of a birth cohort would bear during their reproductive
life span if they were subject to the observed age-
specific maternity rates and mortality rates through their
NRR=1 equals exact replacement fertility
year India Pakistan Japan
2001 3.08 4.29 1.33
2011 2.53 3.35 1.39
year India Kerala
2001 3.08 1.70
2011 2.53 1.70
Total Fertility Rates for States
NFHS-3, India, 2005-06
(10 states 35%
TFR 2.1 – 2.4
(6 states 20%
TFR 2.5 – 3.6
(9 states 19%
TFR 3.7 – 4.0
(4 states 25%
CAN POVERTY DETERMINE FERTILITY ?
Most of the UDCs are poverty ridden and the couple
remains at home, as that cannot afford going out, and
enjoy sex, which increases fertility.
Due to poverty, there is always shortage of protein in body,
which is responsible for higher fertility.
FERTILITY AND AGE AT MARRIAGE
Early and child marriage has been observed that in
developing countries due to climatic and other reasons,
girls reach puberty at an early age and as such the period
of reproduction of girls is lengthy.
After marriage, LDCs, women are considered to live in the
house , settle that and produce children. Since chances of
employment and educational facilities are limited,
therefore, women always live at home and feel pleasure in
bringing up and playing with their children. Thus fertility
EDUCATION AND FERTILITY
Fertility among educated women is lower as compared with illiterate
Education and fertility have started close relationship..
1. Educated women are quite conscious of having a limited family size.
2. At an age when there are very bright chances of having good fertility, the
girls are in the colleges and university and thus do not get children
which during this period uneducated girls get.
3. In many cases educated women get employed and with employment
they cannot afford to have more children.
4. Span of child producing time in the case of educated women is less, as
compared with illiterate women.
In developed countries, percentage of educated women is
always higher, as compared with the UDCs.
Since women and men are both enlightened, they do not
allow fertility rate to go up, as long as that is considered
absolutely necessary by the couple.
Usually educated women get married at the late stage and
also believe in the concept of small planned family.
Just a Few Years of Education Leads to
Substantial Reduction in Fertility
TFR of women with
No education – 3.6
< 5 years of education – 2.5
12+ years of education – 1.8
NFHS-3, India, 2005-06
Causes of differential fertility in the DCs
1. Desire for planned family,
2. High living standard,
4. Education among the women,
5. Non- dependence on men,
6. Awakening among women,
7. Decreasing influence of religion,
8. Emotional needs of children and
9. Status symbol.
Causes responsible for higher fertility in UDCs
1. Early and child marriage,
3. Religious and social values
4. Lack of female education
5. Less social awakening
6. No desire for high living standard
7. Agriculture as the main occupation
8. Difficulties in family planning programmes
9. Less urbanisation
10. Less expensive bringing up.
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