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Exploring the causes of recent stalling of fertility in Bangladesh

M. Mazharul Islam, University of Dhaka

Fertility rate in Bangladesh has declined from 6.3 births in 1975 to 3.3 births in 1993 and since then it has remained almost unchanged, despite the increased use of contraception. The increased use of contraception and changes in other proximate determinants of fertility since 1993 shows no visible impact on fertility reduction that raised many questions. This paper explores possible explanations of recent stalling of fertility level in Bangladesh from different perspectives. The data for the study comes from a series of nationally representative surveys over the period of 1975 to 2004. The analysis indicates that the fertility has been ceased to decline temporarily due to tempo effect and in general the declining trend in fertility is underway. The change in fertility level was consistent with the underlying change in the proximate determinants of fertility. Further improvement in socio-economic condition of women, age at marriage, child survival and fertility preferences would help reduce fertility in Bangladesh.

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Presented in Session 19: Explanations for stalled and persistently high fertility