Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Thesis


Fertility, Human -- Social aspects, Women -- Social conditions


The rapid increase in human population makes the study of fertility rates an area of imminent concern. Understanding the relationship between women's status and fertility rates is important because providing women with access to adequate health services, educational opportunities, occupational opportunities, and political power will give them greater control over their lives. With increased control over their lives women are more likely to limit the number of children they have to their desired amount as they gain access to the resources to limit child bearing and to find fulfillment in other areas of their lives. This study contributes to the literature on fertility rates by investigating the relationship between women's status and fertility by exploring multiple dimensions of women's status using cross-national data while controlling for variables that have been identified as important in previous research.

Ordinary least squares regression was used to test the relationship between four dimensions of women's status and fertility rates. These dimensions included women's health status, women's political status, women's educational status, and women's occupational status. Though this research failed to demonstrate a significant relationship between women's political status and women's occupational status with fertility rates, and it was unable to test the relationship between women's educational status and fertility rates due to issues with multicollinearity, it did demonstrate that women's health status had an effect on fertility rates that approached statistical significance and contributed significantly to the explanation of the variance in fertility rates. Furthermore, two of the indicators that made up the women's health status index (births attended by skilled health personnel and mandatory paid maternity leave) had significant effects of fertility rates once they were considered as single indicators. This research demonstrates that creating policies that enhance women's health status can have a dramatic effect on the number of births per woman. According to this study, nations that have social policies that provide skilled health personnel at 100% of births, mandate a full year of paid maternity leave, and provide contraception to the entire population will have an average of 2.33 less births per woman than nations that do not have any skilled personnel attending births, do not mandate any days of paid maternity leave, and in which there is no contraception available.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminology

First Advisor

Phyllis Baker, Chair


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Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (v, 62 leaves : illustrations ; 28 cm)



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Sociology Commons