A Sequence-Analysis Approach to the Study of Partnership and Fertility Transitions in Low- and Middle-Income Countries

Maria Sironi , University College London
Luca Maria Pesando, Population Studies Center, University of Pennsylvania
Nicola Barban, University of Essex
Frank Furstenberg, University of Pennsylvania

This study investigates whether young people in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) have experienced the same processes of de-standardisation of the life course that have been observed in industrialized countries. We provide three contributions to the relevant literature. First, we use data from 247 Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) across 84 LMICs, offering the richest account of transition to adulthood patterns in the developing world existing to date. Second, we move beyond single summary measures of life-course heterogeneity and characterize the life-course complexity by detailed sequences of events, namely first sex, first union, and childbearing. Third, we look not only at the transition to childbearing and birth-sequencing, but also at the sex-composition of births. Preliminary results show that it is important to investigate cross-national differences in partnership and fertility trajectories, and to look at the interrelation among different events. We document important differences by macro-regions and between countries within regions.

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 Presented in Session 154. Family Complexity and Diversity