Volume 46 - Article 6 | Pages 147–178  

Educational pairings and fertility decline in Brazil: An analysis using cohort fertility

By José Henrique Costa Monteiro da Silva, Everton Emanuel Campos de Lima, Maria Coleta Ferreira Albino de Oliveira


Background: Brazil's fertility transition was the result of multiple socioeconomic transformations that started during the second quarter of the 20th century. Education expansion played an important role in this process by promoting changes in social norms and in assortative mating profiles.

Objective: The goal is to estimate cohort fertility rates (CFR) of women in union by educational pairing (different combinations of men’s and women’s educational levels) and whether changes observed in assortative mating profiles were associated to the Brazilian cohort fertility transition.

Methods: First, we estimate CFR by educational pairings for women cohorts born between 1925 and 1969. Second, we decompose the difference in CFR between younger and older cohorts into two components, the effects of changes in the composition of educational pairings (structural changes) and the rate effects (other factors).

Results: The CFR of couples in Brazil declined from levels higher than 6 children per women for cohorts born in 1925–1929, to less than 3 children for women born in 1965–1969. Changes in the composition of educational pairing corresponded to approximately one-third of these reductions in cohort fertility.

Conclusions: These results suggest that changes in the composition of educational pairing related to the rising education levels of men and women corresponded to an important share of the cohort fertility decline of women in unions.

Contribution: The evaluation of the Brazilian fertility transition through the lens of cohort fertility and educational pairings may provide new insights and methodological alternatives for assessing fertility transition in countries that rely on censuses as the main data source for fertility estimation.

Author's Affiliation

Most recent similar articles in Demographic Research

Racial classification as a multistate process
Volume 50 - Article 17    | Keywords: Brazil, demography, increments to life, life expectancy, life table, mortality, multistate, race/ethnicity

Near-universal marriage, early childbearing, and low fertility: India’s alternative fertility transition
Volume 48 - Article 34    | Keywords: age at birth, fertility transition, India, low fertility, sterilisation

Age reporting for the oldest old in the Brazilian COVID-19 vaccination database: What can we learn from it?
Volume 48 - Article 28    | Keywords: age misreporting, Brazil, COVID-19, mortality crossover, oldest old, population aging, vaccinations

Does race response shift impact racial inequality?
Volume 47 - Article 30    | Keywords: Brazil, earnings, income, race/ethnicity, racial inequality

“Everyone tries to avoid responsibility” The attenuating role of financial obligations in fertility change among Yorùbá farmers of southwestern Nigeria
Volume 43 - Article 26    | Keywords: farmers, fertility, fertility transition, population, wealth flows, Yorùbá