In: Zeba Ayesha Sathar and James F Phillips (eds), 'Fertility Transition in South Asia
This compendium of nineteen chapters, written by South Asia scholars and international authorities in the field of population, provides an overview of a range of issues surrounding fertility change in SOuth Asia over the past decade.
In the first section of the book, the latest levels and trends in fertility in individual countries are covered. The quality of data is compared and discussed with the aim of clarifying fertility trends in the region as a whole. The section provides an authoritative data source for those interested in pursuing demographic analyses for South Asia as it enters the twenty-first century.
The second section presents explanations for the contrasting onset, pace, and differentials in fertility declines experienced by countries in the region. Authors examine a range of alternative explanatory factors, emphasizing issues such as the causal role of gender systems, son preference, linguistic and regional boundaries, and development levels. The viewpoints presented here provide a range of competing theories on the South Asia fertility transition, which will be of particular value to sociologists, historians and all those interested in comparative research for the region.
The concluding section examines the role of policies in the South Asia fertility transition. Policies designed to reduce fertility were developed and launched in this region long before other regions in the world. In particular, family planning programmes were initiated in South Asia. In these final chapters, authors review the outcome of experiments conducted in settings where demand for family planning was constrained by pro-natalist social institutions, and where services were supplied to test the capacity of programmes to foster reproductive change. This section will be of particular interest to those managing reproductive health programmes, as well as to those researching the role of politics and policies in poulation trends.