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Ethnicity and migration effects on fertility behavior in Pakistan

Batool Zaidi, Population Council
Laura J. Reichenbach, Population Council

The latest DHS 2006-07 data show a TFR in Pakistan of 4.1 and a decline in the contraceptive prevalence rate to 29 percent. Previous explanations for this sluggish fertility behavior include barriers due to religion, gender discrimination, low levels of social development, and lack of demand for family planning. This paper examines the hypothesis that ethnicity plays a significant explanatory role in the uptake of family planning services. It does so by examining the impact of ethnicity (measured as linguistic grouping) on the social diffusion of fertility behavior through its influence on cultural values related to reproductive and fertility behavior. The paper uses several national data sets to examine alternative explanations for understanding the lagging fertility behavior in Pakistan by drawing on the literature on social diffusion and fertility change. Analysis of sub-national migration behavior is considered whenever possible to better understand the importance of ethnicity on fertility behavior.

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Presented in Session 222: Religion, culture and reproduction