Fertility, Biology, and Behavior: An Analysis of the Proximate Determinants presents the proximate determinants of natural fertility. This book discusses the biological and behavioral dimensions of human fertility that are linked to intermediate fertility variables. Organized into nine chapters, this book begins with an overview of the mechanisms through which socioeconomic variables influence fertility. This text then examines the absolute and relative age-specific marital fertility rates of selected populations. Other chapters consider the trends in total fertility rates of selected countries, including Colombia, Kenya, Korea, Indonesia, Mexico, Pakistan, France, and United States. This book discusses as well the effects of deliberate marital fertility control through contraception and induced abortion. The final chapter deals with the management of sex composition and implications for birth spacing. This book is a valuable resource for reproductive physiologists, social scientists, demographers, statisticians, biologists, and graduate students with an interest in the biological and behavioral control of human fertility.

Table of Contents



1 Introduction and Overview


The Proximate Determinants

Fertility and the Proximate Determinants

Variations in Individual Fertility

Age-Specific Fertility

The Determinants of the Proximate Variables

The Organization of This Book


2 Natural Fertility and Its Proximate Determinants

Natural Fertility

The Proximate Determinants of Natural Marital Fertility

The Effect of the Proximate Determinants on Natural Fertility



3 Regulated Fertility and Its Proximate Determinants

Regulated Fertility


Contraceptive Use

Contraceptive Effectiveness

Induced Abortion




4 An Aggregate Fertility Model

The Structure of the Model

Direct Estimation of the Fertility Effects of the Proximate Determinants

Testing the Validity of the Model

The Proximate Determinants of Fertility Levels TF, TN, TM, and TFR


Appendix: An Equation for Estimating Cc


5 Applications of an Aggregate Fertility Model

Application 1: The Transition in the Proximate Determinants

Application 2: Decomposition of a Change in Fertility

Application 3: Socioeconomic Differentials in Marital Fertility

Application 4: An Age-Specific Fertility Model

Application 5: The Empirical Relationship between Fertility and Contraceptive Prevalence

Application 6: Projected Fertility Trends Associated with Changes in Contraceptive Practice

Application 7: Contraceptive Prevalence Levels Require


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© 1983
Academic Press
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About the authors

Robert Potter

Robert Potter, ASHA Fellow, has been a therapist and an academician in a variety of settings including public school, medical school, Job Corp, private practice, metropolitan speech and hearing centers, and several universities. For most of his academic career, he was a member of the Washington State University Speech and Hearing Sciences Department, in which he served as either chair or program director for 21 years. After leaving WSU, where he is professor emeritus of Speech and Hearing Sciences, he joined the University of Oregon Communication Disorders Program where he was professor and senior research associate. He has published numerous articles in professional journals and has served as a grant reviewer and panelist for the Department of Education and ASHA and as an accreditation site visitor for the latter. A tribute to his pedagogical skills was recently noted by a Golden Apple Award in the ASHA Leader. Also, in recognition of his teaching, there is a classroom named in his honor at WSU.