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The global trend towards smaller families is a reflection of people making reproductive choices to have as few or as many children as they want, when they want. When people lack choice, it can have a long-term impact on fertility rates, often making them higher or lower than what most people desire.
CONTEXT: Age at sexual debut, age at first marriage or first union and age at first birth are among the most widely used indicators of health and well-being for female adolescents. However, the accuracy of estimates for these indicators, particularly for younger adolescents, is poorly understood. METHODS: For each of nine countries in Africa and Latin America, Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) data from two surveys conducted five years apart were used to examine women’s reports of age at sexual debut, marriage or first union, and first birth. …
This paper reviews the status of the demographic transition worldwide, discusses factors associated with fertility decline, and highlights challenges associated with completing the transition in developing countries. It is intended to help policymakers both here and abroad to better understand the need for continued efforts to reduce fertility and population growth rates, even in the wake of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.