The influence of structural change in agriculture on childbearing among Iowa's farm population

Date
1994
Authors
Yang, Xiaodong
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Altmetrics
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Research Projects
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Sociology
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Abstract

By employing wealth-flow theory, this study analyzes longitudinal relationships between the fertility of rural farm population in Iowa, education, and the dynamics of farm structure during the 1950-1970 period. Examination of census data indicated a relatively stable structure of relationships among the proposed variables between 1950 and 1970. More specifically, education influenced farm structure and fertility consistently while receiving no such effects from these variables in return. In contrast, the relationship between fertility and farm structure was interactive with fertility influencing farm structure in a cross-lagged fashion while the latter affected fertility through synchronous paths. When these three variables were considered together, however, farm structure's effect on fertility failed to show any significance, indicating that it is not an independent source of fertility change. Fertility, on the other hand, showed significant effects on farm structure even in the presence of education, implying that the role it played is more active and consistent than previous research indicated. Hence, societies with high fertility rates should pay more attention to their mass education programs. With the observation that fertility had a consistent impact on farm structure, the study also implies that in the process of socioeconomic development, fertility may be an active change agent rather than a passive change receiver.

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Sociology
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