It is widely argued that abortion policy is an important component of China’s family planning programme. Both the local abortion studies and annual abortion numbers in China have pointed to the policy relevance of the abortion trends. Are socio-economic factors also affecting women’s abortion behaviours in China? Few abortion studies have addressed the issue largely owing to the lack of empirical data. Using data from China’s first reproductive health survey conducted in 1997, this study examines socio-economic patterns and determinants of induced abortion in China. Evidence points to the important and statistically significant impact of women’s socio-economic characteristics on obtaining abortion. More “modernized” characteristics are significantly associated with a higher abortion rate, and there are also abortion patterns peculiar to the Chinese context. Women’s knowledge and attitudes towards abortion also have significant and independent impacts on their abortion experiences. The results have important policy implications.
This paper is an attempt to identify the association between indirect and direct indicators of women’s empowerment and its evidence in two demographically contrasting states (Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu) in India. In 1998-1999, for the first time, the National Family Health Survey in India collected information on the direct indicators of female autonomy (empowerment) such as decision-making, mobility and access to economic resources that can be viewed both as an outcome and a process. Education and work participation of women, the so-called indirect indicators of empowerment, show a stronger association with the direct indicators of autonomy. However, there are sociocultural variations in the level of empowerment. Women in Uttar Pradesh have the least autonomy in freedom of movement, which turns out to be an important indicator of the evidence of empowerment. Above all, education of women is the single leading indicator of female autonomy in India.
The north-eastern region of India is the most interior and inaccessible part of the country. Studies of the region, particularly of the nutritional status of children, are lacking in the absence of anthropometric measures. This paper makes an attempt to describe the nutritional status of children of north-east India using height-for-age, weight-for-age and weight-for-height anthropometric measures of children under three years of age. Children’s physical characteristics, the parents’ background and their household characteristics’ contribution to weight-for-age are investigated using multilevel regression analysis. In north-east India (excluding Assam) more than a quarter of all the children aged 1-35 months are stunted and more than one fifth are underweight. Stunted growth ranges from 27.6 per cent to 44.6 per cent. Wasting among children is found to be 5 to 14 per cent.
It has been seen from the present analysis that children who are breastfed for the prescribed optimum duration of four to six months are nutritionally better off than those breastfed even beyond their first birthday. Anaemic children and children who had suffered from diarrhoea, cough and fever two weeks prior to the survey tend to rank poorly on the nutritional index. The health and education of the mother have a significant influence on the nutrition of children, but the father’s health does not have the same effect on the child. Children with good living environments are associated with proper nutrition. The intrahousehold correlation coefficient is 24 per cent, indicating strong household clustering and prevalence of a wider disparity in nutritional status of children in different households.
The results of this study suggest, among others, programmes at the community level to educate women on proper breastfeeding practices, household hygiene, basic health care and safe cooking practices.
Until recently, the Maldives had been considered as one of the countries in South Asia with high fertility. However, recent evidence suggests the beginning of a fertility decline. The total fertility rate of the country, which stood at 6.4 children per woman during the early 1990s, declined to 5.7 in 1995. The recent data from the Population and Housing Census of Maldives showed a further drop in the total fertility rate to 2.8 in 2000. While this is an indication of the beginning of the fertility transition in Maldives, the magnitude of the decline — almost three children per woman in the past five years — is so rapid that the quality of data on current fertility is not beyond question.
The assessment of the data quality and indirect estimates of fertility support the view that the fertility decline reported in the censuses of Maldives is fairly accurate. While the absence of a fertility survey in Maldives does not permit the analysis of the proximate determinants of fertility, some evidence of the positive socio-economic changes occurring in Maldives, such as the increased use of contraception, schooling opportunities in the rural areas and political endorsement of family planning at the highest level, provides an explanation for the rapid fertility decline occurring in the islands.