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Increasing educational disparities in the timing of motherhood in the Andean region: a cohort perspective

Batyra, Ewa (2020) Increasing educational disparities in the timing of motherhood in the Andean region: a cohort perspective. Population Research and Policy Review, 39 (2). 283 - 309. ISSN 0167-5923

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Identification Number: 10.1007/s11113-019-09535-0


In spite of a peculiar pattern of the age at first birth in Latin America, there is little research about the long-term trends in the timing of transition to motherhood at all stages of women’s reproductive lives and across countries in the region. This paper examines the evolution of educational disparities in the age at first birth during the fertility transition in three Andean region countries: Ecuador, Colombia, and Peru. Using birth history information available in the latest Population and Housing Censuses, I estimate the first-birth age-specific rates disaggregated by various measures of education level, for cohorts born between 1945 and 1980. In all countries, educational expansion was accompanied by increasing rates of first birth before the age of 20 among women with below completed higher education, but the most drastic change occurred among women who dropped out of secondary school. Concurrently, the first-birth rates at the age of 20–29 decreased for women who achieved higher education; an evidence of an increase in the rates above the age of 30 among them started to emerge. A pronounced divergence in the first-birth timing between the educational groups occurred during the fertility transition. Comparison of a relative and an absolute educational level classification shows that the increasing disparities between the lowest and the highest educated women were similarly pronounced even when accounting for the changes in educational composition across cohorts. This paper discusses the potential factors behind the polarization in the age at first birth in the region. It argues that there is a need for policies encouraging not only secondary school entrance but also secondary school completion in the context of substantial educational expansion and high levels of school dropout observed in the region.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2019 The Author
Divisions: International Development
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
L Education > L Education (General)
Date Deposited: 24 Jun 2019 08:30
Last Modified: 20 Jun 2024 08:00

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