Fertility and contraceptives: the experience of Spanish women born in the first half of the twentieth century

Miguel Requena, Universidad Nacional de EducaciĆ³n a Distancia (UNED)
David Sven Reher, Universidad Complutense de Madrid
Alberto Sanz-Gimeno, Universidad Complutense de Madrid

The main purpose of this paper is to analyze the growing diffusion of contraceptive use among the Spanish women born in the first half of the twentieth century. Since contraception ultimately determines the fertility level of a population, the growing diffusion of modern contraception has been one of the correlates of the historical fertility transitions in developed and developing world. In these transitions, availability of, and access to, affordable contraceptive methods has been as important as change of reproductive preferences and acceptance of the new means to achieve the desired family size. This paper focuses mainly on the demand-side of the transitional argument and has two specific aims: (i) to depict the timing and spread of contraception use among these cohorts by mean of diffusion models; and (ii) to explore the social determinants of contraception use. Present exercise is based on data coming from an ambitious survey carried out recently among older Spanish women (the Baby Boom and Bust Survey of Spain, N=1021) which yields ample information about the reproductive behavior of this cohorts. The analysis of the diffusion process of contraception among Spanish women promises to be of the utmost importance to understand the historical process of fertility decline in Spain.

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Presented in Session 22: Special thematic session on demographic transition: processes and consequences, 19-20th century