Population and Environment

, Volume 28, Issue 6, pp 289–320 | Cite as

Land use and first birth timing in an agricultural setting

Original Paper


The dramatic changes in the earth’s landscape have prompted increased interest in the links between population, land use, and land cover. Previous research emphasized the notion of population pressure (population pressure increases demands on natural resources causing changes in land use), overlooking the potentially important effects of changes in land use on humans. Using multiple data sets from the Chitwan Valley Family Study in Nepal, we test competing hypotheses about the impact of land use on first birth timing. We argue that while agricultural land should encourage early childbearing, land area devoted to public infrastructure should discourage it. The results show that individuals from neighborhoods with larger proportions of land under agriculture experienced first birth at rates higher than those from neighborhoods with smaller proportions. On the other hand, individuals from neighborhoods with larger proportions of land under public infrastructure experienced first birth at rates lower than those from neighborhoods with smaller proportions. However, the effects of public infrastructure are not as strong as the land area devoted to agriculture.


Land use First birth timing Agriculture Nepal 


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Social ResearchUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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