As sociologists and economists evaluate the demographic trends of the past century, they note that total fertility rates have fallen worldwide. Using various theories to explain demographic change, scholars attribute the fall in fertility rates to a variety of social and economic factors. This study evaluates the effect of determinants of fertility from three major theories of fertility decline. Using World Bank and United Nations data, this study considers the impact of female illiteracy, female labor force participation, per capita GNP, urbanization and female secondary education on total fertility rates. Linear regression analyses for the years 1970, 1980 and 1990 show female illiteracy to have the strongest, most consistent effect on fertility. Urbanization, per capita GNP, female labor force participation and female secondary education each demonstrate statistical significance for one or two ofthe years tested.


International and Area Studies