Population Association of America Annual Meeting
31 March–2 April 2011
This paper explores the potential explanations of the varying lengths of first-birth intervals observed between early- and late-marrying regimes in developing countries. We propose that underlying biological mechanisms related to the fecundity of girls at the time of marriage govern first-birth intervals and shape the social norms surrounding childbearing. We use multicountry data from the Demographic and Health Surveys and estimate multilevel models to explore both biological and social norm–related mechanisms that determine the timing of first birth in different marriage regimes. We hypothesize that longer birth intervals in early marrying societies are a result of the subfecundity of girls when they enter unions. In late-marrying regimes, girls marry at their most fecund periods and are impatient to establish fertility, resulting in shorter birth intervals. Policy implications of these considerations that suggest distinct emphasis in the promotion of contraception in different marriage regimes are discussed further.
firstname.lastname@example.org; +1 212 339 0509
Media-friendly services include:
- Arranging interviews with Council researchers
- Providing electronic and traditional format press kits
- Assisting in article development
Contacts and Resources
For 60 years, the Population Council has changed the way the world thinks about important health and development issues. Explore an interactive timeline of the Council's history, learn more about some of our key contributions, and watch a short video about why your support is so important to us.