What’s Population Policy Got to Do with It – Fertility Change in Pakistan

Zeba A. Sathar, Population Council

Pakistan was one of the earliest countries in the developing world to have a well-enunciated population policy but one of the last in Asia to experience the onset of a fertility decline. The paper will make the case that whatever has happened in Pakistan’s demographic transition, apart from early mortality declines, occurred outside of policy and accompanying program frameworks. We explore factors impacting fertility change -- derived from government actions and existing national data sets (e.g., living standards surveys, DHS surveys, and published reports) -- to relate trends in contraceptive use and fertility from 1965 until now. The paper weighs macroeconomic conditions (e.g., per capita income and growth rates), human development (e.g., educational enrollment, literacy and status of women), and family planning services to understand contributing factors. The paper tests the hypothesis that factors other than those in enunciated policies dominate how fertility change occurs.

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Presented in Session 20: Population Policy