Rapid Fertility Decline and the Changing Timing of Births in Iran

Amir Erfani, Nipissing University
Kevin McQuillan, University of Calgary

Iran has experienced a dramatic decrease in fertility that saw the Total Fertility Rate decline from 7 children per woman in 1984 to just 2 by 1999. Although fertility declined among all major social groups, an important inequality in the timing of births still remains. This paper examines the experiences of different marriage cohorts of women who were at different stages of their childbearing careers when period fertility rates began to fall. We use retrospective data from the 2000 Iran DHS to examine variation in the timing of births across marriage cohorts. Our findings point to the importance of contraceptive use and education as key determinants of birth timing. Moreover, the strength of the association between education and birth timing is greater among younger women. This may suggest that significant differences in completed fertility by level of education will emerge among women in the more recent cohorts.

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Presented in Poster Session 1