Role of Family Size and Composition in Fertility Desire, Contraceptive Adoption, and Method Choice in South Asia

Anuja Jayaraman, Macro International Inc.
Vinod Mishra, Macro International Inc.

Studies have found that gender preference has significant implications for desired family size, fertility decisions, and contraceptive adoption. This paper examines the influence of family composition on reproductive behavior in Nepal, India, and Bangladesh. Using data from recent Demographic and Health Surveys, we analyze if the choice of contraceptive method adopted (modern versus traditional; temporary versus permanent) and desire for another child differ by parity and sex composition of surviving children. In addition, for India, we pool data for four northern states and four southern states in order to capture the north-south variation and also compare West Bengal and Bangladesh. The study confirms the presence of son preference in all three countries and reveals greater prominence in Nepal and India. Within India, it is strongest in the North. However, considerable proportions of women also express a desire for at least one daughter, especially in Bangladesh after having a son.

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Presented in Poster Session 2