The State and Fertility Motivation in Singapore and China

  • Janet W. Salaff


Unprecedentedly rapid population growth rates in developing nations threaten to derail programmes to industrialise. The first industial nations had developed in the absence of massive public health measures. Death rates were high and the great cities did not reproduce themselves. In contrast, today the new nations have sewage systems, clean water, improved transportation systems to move food and end famines quickly, and prophylactic drugs to head off major epidemic diseases. These environmental sanitation and public health measures reduce death rates in the developing nations below those of the now industrialised nations in an earlier era.1 Families in the early stages of development view children as productive assets. In agrarian and early industrial settings the household exercises autonomy and control over its labour. In labour-intensive agricultural settings small children can play a productive role.2 Even in newly-industrialising cities the lack of a ‘living wage’ for adults requires family members to combine their incomes.3 In both settings youngsters provide help around the home and will later give support to their elders.


Family Size Population Policy Family Policy Crude Birth Rate High Order Birth 
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Notes and References

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    Lack of a long-term career ladder leads men to stress luck in their work lives, and they will often chance sexual relations without expecting a birth, or a birth hoping for a child of the right sex. Lee Rainwater, Family Design: Marital Sexuality, Family Size and Contraception (Chicago: Aldine, 1965); Janet Askham, Fertility and Deprivation (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1975).Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Elisabeth Croll, Delia Davin and Penny Kane 1985

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  • Janet W. Salaff

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