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Access to maternity in India: Life trajectories towards an almost universal transition

Rojin Sadeghi, University of Geneva
Michel Oris, University Of Geneva
Matthias Studer, Université de Genève and NCCR-LIVES

In the last decades, most of the societies in the so-called South have experienced impressive demographic transformations. In India, soon the most populated country of the world, the fertility rate fell, getting closer to the renewal threshold. These evolutions might induce an increase in the proportion of childless women and changes in their characteristics. Indeed, as Indian fertility declines, the most privileged segments of the population would increasingly allow themselves to choose not to have children, or more easily accept the fact that they cannot give birth due to life's constraints. On the other hand, the less well-off segments of the population, affected by undernutrition, would still be under pressure from stronger reproductive norms. We use data from the 2015–2016 Demographic and Health Survey to look at whether the profile of women who are less likely to have children still matches the factors traditionally associated with infertility through a discrete-time survival model. Then individual life trajectories are introduced as a mediating variable to the model using the Sequence History Analysis approach. Challenging the classical vision of a monolithic Indian society, results show a heterogeneity of life paths in the access or not to maternity.

Keywords: Life course analysis, Fertility and childbirth, Life event calendar analysis, Family demography

See extended abstract.

  Presented in Session P13.