Family Demography in Asia
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Family Demography in Asia

A Comparative Analysis of Fertility Preferences

Edited by Stuart Gietel-Basten, John Casterline and Minja K. Choe

The demographic future of Asia is a global issue. As the biggest driver of population growth, an understanding of patterns and trends in fertility throughout Asia is critical to understand our shared demographic future. This is the first book to comprehensively and systematically analyse fertility across the continent through the perspective of individuals themselves rather than as a consequence of top-down government policies.
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Chapter 23: The cultural and historical context of fertility preferences in Timor-Leste

Udoy Saikia

Abstract

Timor-Leste, the newest nation in Asia, stands out demographically specially in the context of fertility rate. The fertility rate was exceptionally high during the time of independence, which resulted in unprecedented population growth in Timor-Leste. Although there have been signs of fertility decline in recent years, amidst the worrying socio-economic conditions in this new nation, it is of great concern that if the current fertility rate and its implied population growth continues, it will create enormous challenges to the country’s nation building process. This chapter offers an insight into the historical and current context of high fertility in Timor-Leste. The analysis is largely based on secondary data from two consecutive Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) conducted in Timor-Leste during the period between 2003 and 2010. The chapter also draws on the broader literature and qualitative research already carried out by the author into the reasons behind high fertility in Timor-Leste.

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