Sociology- Reasons for the decline in the birth rate

  • Created by: Daisymac
  • Created on: 13-03-19 14:54
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  • Reasons for the decline in the birth rate
    • Changes in women's positions
      • Legal equality with men--> right to vote
      • Increased educational opportunities
      • More women in paid employment and laws about sex discrimination
      • Changes in attitudes to family life and women's role
      • Easier access to divorce
      • Access to abortion and reliable contraception
      • Harper 2012- The education of women is the most important reason as it has led to a change in the mind-set of women
        • They are more likely to use family planning and see other possibilities apart from the traditional role of being a housewife and mother
      • In 2012, 1 in 5 women aged 45 was childless
      • Harper notes that smaller families have become the norm
    • Decline in infant mortality
      • IMR measures the number of infants who die before their first birthday, per thousand babies born alive per year
      • Harper argues fall in IMR leads to fall in birth rate
        • Because if many infants die parent have more children to replace them
      • In 1900- 154
        • In 2018- 4.3
      • Fell due to
        • Improved sanitation and housing, which reduced infection
        • Better nutrition of babies and mothers
        • Better knowledge of childcare, health, welfare
        • Improved services for women and babies, such as clinics
      • From 1950s, medical factors played a greater role ed. mass immunisation and use of antibiotics and improved midwifery
      • Brass and Kabir 1978 argue that the trend to smaller families began not in rural areas but in urban areas, where the IMR remained higher for longer
    • Children are now an economic liability
      • Until 19th c, children= economic asset
      • Laws banning child labour, introducing compulsory education and raised leaving age --> Economically dependent
      • Changing norms about what children have a right to expect from their parents in material terms mean the cost of bringing up children has risen
    • Child centredness
      • Means childhood is socially constructed
      • Shift from quantity to quality
    • Future trends in birthrates
      • Has been a slight increase in births since 2001
      • Increase in immigration as mothers from outside uk have a higher birthrate
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