Post-transitional fertility in developing countries: causes and implications

Lead Research Organisation: University of Portsmouth
Department Name: Sch of Health Sciences and Social Work


The world is in the midst of a profound demographic transformation: the small family, once restricted to rich countries, is becoming a worldwide phenomenon. Leaving aside Sub-Saharan Africa (where fertility is mostly still high), the total fertility rate for the developing world is 2.3 children per woman.This marks a spectacular decline from values of 5-6 that were common only a few decades ago. Moreover, fertility is still falling in most developing countries.

The most widely used model of population change is that of the "demographic transition". In terms of this model, much of the developing world is, or soon will be, "post-transitional". Unfortunately, the determinants of post-transitional fertility are far from being well understood. Moreover, the existing literature on both the causes and the implications of very low fertility is almost exclusively concerned with developed countries.This leaves us facing two fundamental and unanswered questions:

  1. How far will fertility fall in the developing world?

  2. How can individuals, families, societies and governments in the developing world best adapt to this new fertility regime?

This seminar will be a pioneering enterprise, with the scope for making a significant contribution to policy. 



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Description Overall, the most important impact of the Seminar Series was to simulate primary research and theorising low fertility in developing country contexts. The Seminar Series have opened a new territory within demography. The Seminar Series attracted 40 papers (both developing and developed countries) which given the current scope of the topic area is a very significant number. These papers have provided a significant contribution to the understanding of low fertility in developing country contexts and identified the areas for further research and theorising. Thus, the Seminar Series have helped to advance our understanding of low fertility in developing countries.
Sector Education,Environment,Healthcare
Impact Types Cultural,Societal,Economic
Description Developing collaborative research programmes on the consequences of low fertility in developing countries'
Amount £8,000 (GBP)
Organisation University of Portsmouth 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 01/2013 
End 04/2014
Description Institutional Link Award 
Organisation Flinders University
Country Australia, Commonwealth of 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The University of Portsmouth has developed the protocol, questionnaires and application for ethical approval in close collaboration with team members from the University of Brawijaya.
Collaborator Contribution Contributed to the development of survey tools, preparation of application for ethical approval.
Impact Outcomes from this collaboration: 1. A memorandum of understanding is being signed 2. Tools for data collection are being finalised 3. Full application for ethical committee approval 4. A new centre called "Portsmouth-Brawijaya Centre for Global Health, Population and Policy" was established from this research.
Start Year 2015
Description Mahidol 
Organisation Mahidol University
Country Thailand, Kingdom of 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution In participating grant application that was submitted to the NIHR Global Health Unit
Collaborator Contribution Expert advice and local partnership
Impact - Joint grant application, multidisciplinary
Start Year 2017
Description International workshop at Malang, Indonesia 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact International workshop on identifying priority areas for population and health research in the South East Asia Region
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
Description The "second demographic transition" and fertility analysis: The life cycle view 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Presented at ESRC Oxford Seminar
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013