Is Latin America Starting to Retreat from Childbearing?

Luis Rosero-Bixby, Universidad de Costa Rica
Teresa Castro Martin, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC)
Teresa Martin Garcia, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC)

Fertility transition in Latin America has entered into a new stage in recent years. The proportion of women who are mothers, which changed little in the past, dropped substantially in most Latin America countries in the 1990s. This paper documents this new trend with cohort estimates from the four waves of censuses conducted in 16 Latin American countries between 1970 and 2000. Drawing from the European experience, we discuss whether this increase in childlessness among young adults is just a shift in the starting age of childbearing or whether it is a more radical retreat from childbearing. To substantiate the discussion, cofactors of the probability of staying childless in a series of surveys conducted in 14 Latin American countries in 2006 are examined. The paper focuses on cohort fertility and motherhood, decomposing childbearing into the contributions of entry into motherhood and the additional children that mothers have.

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Presented in Session 144: Childbearing in Latin America and Asia