Twentieth Century Changes in Family Size in Latin America – Analyses through Cohort Fertility and Parity Progression

Everton E. C. Lima, Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP)
Tomáš Sobotka, Vienna Institute of Demography
Kryštof Zeman, Vienna Institute of Demography

We analyze changes in family size in Latin America during the twentieth century. Using population censuses, we reconstruct cohort fertility and parity progression ratios of women born in 1900–1970 in twelve countries of the region. Our analysis depicts a massive fertility decline, initiated in most countries among women born in the late 1930s, and bringing the average completed fertility down from about 6 children to 2–3 children among women born in the late 1960s. Although this decline was not uniform, we find remarkable similarities in its parity specific components, as parity progression ratios to third, fourth, and higher birth order declined simultaneously. At the same time, childlessness in Latin America was relatively low compared to other regions of declining fertility. The resulting rise in the share of women with only one-child is a key feature of Latin American fertility transition pattern outlined in this study.

Presented in Poster Session 1