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Norainie Ahmad

Brunei’s fertility transition has largely been under-researched, with only a handful of studies focusing on the direct and indirect determinants of fertility decline, and no existing demographic data or literature on fertility preferences. This chapter attempts to paint a picture of the changes that have been experienced by this little-known microstate, whose population has remained below half a million persons, and whose dramatic fertility decline resonates that of advanced economies. Yet Brunei has never implemented any population policy or family planning programmes that would have stimulated such changes. As the country advances further, it is clear that the maxim ‘development is the best contraceptive’ holds true. In particular, we look at the experiences of women from a macro and micro level, where shifting roles and improvements in socioeconomic status have prompted later ages at first marriage and increasing social acceptance towards having smaller families.