The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA

5132.0: Wednesday, November 13, 2002 - 1:30 PM

Abstract #50425

Educational differences in contraceptive use, abortion, and fertility in Matlab, Bangladesh: The role of family planning services

Mizanur Rahman, PhD, Technical Services, Pathfinder International, 9 Galen Street, Suite 217, Watertown, MA 02472, 617-924-7200, ghainsworth@pathfind.org, Julie Da Vanzo, PhD, Family in Economic Development Center, RAND, 1700 Main Street, Santa Monica, CA 90407, and Abdur Razzaque, PhD, Center for Health and Population Research, ICDDR, GPO Box 128, Dhaka, 1000, Bangladesh.

Bangladesh has undergone unprecedented demographic transition. By the late 1990ís, fertility was about half the level of two decades earlier, a decline that was greater for women with at least primary education. In this paper, we examine why better-educated women have been more able to achieve their desired level of fertility. We use longitudinal data from Matlab, comparing an area covered by the MCH-FP Project, with an otherwise similar area not covered.

The MCH-FP area has received more intensive and better quality services since 1997. Contraceptive use has increased and fertility has decreased in both areas over the study periods. However, abortion has increased in the comparison area, but stabilized in the MCH-FP area. We find that educational differentials in fertility do arise at the initial stage of demographic transition, but tend to shrink over time. The idea of small family size occurred equally across social groups, but smaller families were achieved earlier among the more educated. This was not only through greater or better contraceptive use, but also greater use of abortion. We find that as more and better FP services are available, fertility inequalities decrease by reducing unmet contraceptive need, which is likely to be higher among disadvantaged groups. The educational differentials in fertility declined in both areas over time.

Many developing countries are in the early stage of fertility transition, in which there can be differentials in undesired fertility (and its consequences) across subgroups of the population. Well-organized FP/RH services can help reduce such inequalities.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: International Family Planning, Access to Health Care

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Service Delivery: International Perspectives

The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA