Collaborative Research and Dissemination
The demographic literature had not paid adequate attention to the processes leading to very low fertility in the West Bengal. This paper seeks to understand the phenomenon of low fertility on the basis of a field investigation during which over 300 currently married and unmarried women were interviewed in the city. The results show that there is undercurrent of desire for small families and preference for one child is emerging rapidly. Mean Children Ever Born (CEB) varies by socio-economic factors and Poisson Regression Analysis of the number of children ever born revealed that Bengali ethnicity and education of the respondent and her partner (husband) seem to show an effect on CEB and curtailment of having an additional child. Thus, apart from micro level factors like education (both partners) macro-level cultural factor catalyzed the process of lowering the fertility in the region.