Pakistan Institute of Development Economics



G. Rodgen (ed) Population Growth and Poverty in Rural South Asia.New Delhi: Sage Publications. 1989.

Rapid population growth and high levels of poverty continue to be outstanding features of the South Asian region. It is often acknowledged, both implicitly and explicitly, that these two features have close linkages especially in the case of South Asia. This book addresses this very issue through five case studies of Rural Bihar, Rural Pakistan, India, Rural Bangladesh, and Nepal. The book makes an interesting contribution to the literature on population in South Asia. In particular, it has a strong empirical base. However, most of the inquiries, as is quite understandable, are limited by the type of data typically collected in cross-sectional sample surveys. Their limitations are pointed out by the authors themselves. Each chapter makes a significant contribution in its own area and the country-specific results are interesting. In Chapter 2, Rodgers, Gupta, Sharma and Sharma, examine, as their title says, “Demographic Patterns and Poverty among Households in Rural Bihar”. The associations between family planning, fertility, child mortality, and income related measures are studied: the relationship between economic variables and fertility is found to be weak; mortality and poverty are more directly related; and the conclusion, therefore, is that there is no evidence to warrant the conclusion that reducing poverty (even if a desirable objective in itself) would reduce fertility.

Zeba A. Sathar

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