THE PAKISTAN DEVELOPMENT REVIEW
Determinants of Aggregate Fertility in Pakistan
Experiencing high fertility and declining mortality levels, the developing countries are today faced with the problem of relatively high rates of natural increase in their populations. This pace of growth in population, influenced by high fertility levels, impedes the overall development planning. As pointed out in a document prepared by the Planning Commission of Pakistan, ‘A vicious circle is set in motion in which high fertility and socio-economic stagnation breed upon each other’ . In the developing countries, development programmes including birth control programmes are in operation. The sustained high fertility levels, therefore, call for more insights into the mechanisms operating in the society and influencing fertility. Studies of fertility behaviour are conducted at both micro and macro levels. The difference between micro and macro is a matter of emphasis rather than one of kind, and both approaches are concerned with each level of social aggregation. Macrolevel studies describe the level and pattern of change resulting from the ongoing socio-econornic development in the society as a whole and do not explain variations in fertility at the household level . However, development programmes, which are implemented at aggregate levels defined by geographical boundaries, influence the population in terms of socio-economic status and fertility behaviour. There are many factors which affect human fertility individually or collectively. Attempts have been made to identify these factors, and conceptual frameworks have been developed to explain the causal hypotheses. In this context mention may be made of the demographic transition theory, which is often applied to study fertility behaviour.