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Notas Poblacion. 1983 Aug;11(32):9-54.

[Poverty and Fertility in Costa Rica].

[Article in Spanish]



This study examines the relationship between poverty and fertility pointing out socioeconomic correlatives of family size. An attempt is made to identify the poor. Data for the families was taken out of a National household survey carried out between July 1966 and June 1967. Poverty levels were defined by taking into consideration the minimal subsistence salaries as established by the Consejo Nacional de Salarios (National Income Council) for the period between October 1966 and September 1968. Additional variables examined were the parents' educational level, type of union (consensual or legal), area of residence, diet, residence characteristics, and the role of offspring in the family's income. Results indicate a positive relationship between family size and poverty for both legal and consensual unions and for urban and rural areas. In all cases, low income families had a larger average number of children. In urban areas the difference between low and high income families varied from 4.3 to 3.2 children. This difference ranged between 4.6 and 3.0 children in rural areas. Education was shown to determine the income of the family head and the education of the children. 65.4% of those with less than 3 years of education did not reach above the 1st income level; the offspring of poor families received less than 3 years of education on the average, while only 2.9% of children from high income families remained at that educational level. The poor consumed a greater quantity of grains than did the higher income families. In low income families both from rural and urban areas a room was shared by more than 1 person. The study suggests that children were seen as part of survival strategies. Only 4% of the families without children were destitute. Nevertheless, 21.1% of these earned high incomes. By contrast only 5% of families with 1 or 2 children were destitute and only 1.5 reached high income categories. Tables illustrate results. A brief literature review is included.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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