AN ANALYSIS OF INTER-GENERATION FERTILITY MISS K. ANAND1 The...
AN ANALYSIS OF
INTER-GENERATION FERTILITY
MISS K. ANAND1
The present investigation aims to study tion from respondents who are at the age
the changes in the fertility rate in three of 50 years or above and who are in a better
generations and the extent to which such position to give detailed and reliable informa-
changes are influenced by the social and tion about their mothers and daughters.
economic outlook. It also aims to discover
whether the size of the family is affected
In the present study respondents mothers
by the changes in the age of the mother at refer to the first generation, respondents
marriage. The three generations covered themselves to the second generation and their
are the respondents who are at the age of married daughters to the third generation.
50 years or above, the respondents' mothers The respondents were asked to give informa-
and the respondents' married daughters.
tion relating to the fertility pattern in
respect of their own, their mothers and their
The importance of an investigation of this married daughters.
type, especially in a country like ours, which
Sample and Method.—The subjects of
is going ahead with its planning for future
growth, can scarcely be exaggerated.
investigation are the women who are at the
age of fifty or above but who might be living
Another study of a similar type was in the married, widowed or separated state
conducted by Ruth O. Trux2 which was but must have married daughters. A hund-
suggested by a similar study made in 1920, red women were selected from different
which showed a decrease in the average sectors of Chandigarh by means of quota
number of children in three generations. sampling.
Trux's study was intended to discover further
trends after the lapse of 15 years. The It is not possible to work out precisely
respondents in his study were the college what percentage our sample forms to the
students from whom information regarding female population of the appropriate age
their mothers and grandmothers wa
categor
s
y in Chandigarh because the break-up
collected. The shortcoming of that study of the population in terms of age, as given
was that the students could not give enough in the census report is different. The census
detailed information about their grand-
classified the population into four age
mothers as they did not remember all the categories namely, 0-14, 15-30, 35-59, 60 and
facts. This difficulty has been overcome in
bove. Since our sample consists of the women
the present study by collecting the informa-
above the age of fifty, a rough idea of the
1Miss Anand is a lecturer in the Department of Sociology, Punjab University, Chandigarh.
2Ruth O. Trux, "The Size of Family in three Generations", American Sociological Review,
Vol. I No. 4, 1936, p. 581.

362
M I S S K. ANAND
ratio of our sample to the population, we have
Age at Marriage.—The data of the
adopted the following method.3
present study show that later generations are
Assuming that the population between the characterized by higher age at marriage and
age of 35-59 is equally distributed in the the earlier generations by the lower age at
five categories, namely, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, marriage. The average age at marriage in the
50-54, 55-59, the female population above first generation was 13.4 years, in the second
the age of fifty years in Chandigarh in 1961
works out to be 3,005. On the basis of this it was 15.6 years while in the third genera-
method, our sample may form about 3.3 per tion it was 19.7 years. The following table
cent of the total population above the age shows the percentage distribution of females
of fifty years.
at different ages.
TABLE 1
WOMEN'S AGE AT MARRIAGE IN T H R E E GENERATIONS (PERCENTAGES)
First
Second
Third
Age
generation
generation
generation
%
%
%
5-9
5
10-14
71
26
7
15-19
23
71
39
20-24
3
35
25-29
8
30-34
11
35 and above
No response
1
Total (%)
100
100
100
(100 respondents had 174 married daughters)
The table shows that the highest concentra-
marriage to the educational standard
tion in the first generation is between 10-14 acquired by these women we find that in
years, in the second generation between the first generation where the average age
15-19 years and in the third generation at marriage is only 13.4 years, all women
between 15-24 years.
are absolutely illiterate, in the second genera-
tion one-fourth of them were absolutely
The interesting fact is that in the first illiterate and half of them were just literate.
generation 12 per cent of the women were Only two of them had education above the
married between the ages 9-10 years, in the B.A. level and their age at marriage was
second generation only 2 per cent were between 20-24 years. In the third generation,
married at this age, whereas in the third only 10 per cent were illiterate and nearly
generation not a single woman was married at 60 per cent were matriculates or had educa-
such an early age. The age range varies tion beyond the matriculation standard. This
from 9 to 30 years. Relating the age at proves the fact that higher education and
3 T h e above method is indeed very crude and is far from being reliable because the size
of the population tends to decrease as the age keeps on increasing. For instance the
female population between the age group 35-59 is 6 4 % less than the previous age
category and that of sixty and above is 8 1 % less than those in the age group of 35-59.
So the actual female population above the age of 50 years will be far less than 3,005.
Secondly, we have included in our sample only married females with married daughters.
T h e number of such females will be smaller. It we take these limitations into considerations,
the ratio of our sample will be actually much higher than 3 , 3 % . In other words, we may
say that our sample works out to be not less than 3 % , of the total females of the
appropriate category in the total population of Chandigarh.

A N ANALYSIS O F I N T E R - G E N E R A T I O N FERTILITY
363
modern awakening has brought changes in was 17.7 years, in the second generation it
the age of the women at marriage.
was 21.4 years and in the third generation
it was 23.9 years. T h e following table shows
Similar changes are also to be found in the percentage distribution of the age at
the men's age at marriage. In the first which the males in the three generations were
generation the man's average at marriage married.
TABLE 2
M E N ' S AGE AT MARRIAGE IN T H R E E GENERATIONS (PERCENTAGES)
First
Second
Third
Age generation
generation
generation
%
%
%
10-14 9
2
15-19 61
30
14
20-24 21
50
41
25-29 6
16
35
30-34 —
1
8
35 and above 1
1
1
No response 2

1
Total % 100
100
100
As in the case of women's age at marriage, 25 years. Hence like women's age at
here too, in the first generation the largest marriage, men's later generations are also
concentration, i.e. 6 1 % is between 15-19 marked by the higher age at marriage.
years, in the second generation only 3 0 %
were married at this stage, whereas in the
Interval between Marriage and First
third generation only 1 4 % were married Birth.—Early marriage is a universal pheno-
between 15-19 years.
menon in India and our respondents are
Again, in the first generation 7 per cent not an exception to it. But it was attempted
were married above the age of 25 years but to see how far early marriage is also
out of these seven, 4 per cent were married accompanied by early motherhood. In other
a second time and one per cent was married words, an attempt has been m a d e to find
the fourth time. In the second generation, out the interval between t h e age at marriage
18 per cent were married above the age and the age at which the first child was born.
of 25 years, whereas in the third generation, T h e following table shows the interval
44 per cent were married above the age of between marriage and the first birth : —
TABLE 3
INTERVAL BETWEEN MARRIAGE AND THE FIRST BIRTH (PERCENTAGES)
First
Second
Third
No. of years generation
generation
generation
0-1 10
28
42
2-3 65
45
39
4-5 15
12
11
6-7 8
8
3
8-9 —
2
10-11 —
4
12-13 —
1
1
14-15 —
No response 2
4
Total % 100
100
100

364
M I S S K . A N A N D
In our country the girls generally attain where the women have passed through the
puberty at the age of 14 to 15 years. Even entire length of their married life and are
in the present survey nearly 75 per cent of
now past menopause will give us a clear
the women in the first generation, 25 per picture of the fertility rate. In the third
cent in the second generation and 7 per cent
generation there are very few cases of
in the third generation were married before completed fertility, hence we cannot rely on
the attainment of puberty. Hence the average
them. T h e following table shows the
age at marriage being 13.4 years, a minimum
average number of children born in three
interval of two to three years is inevitable generations: —
for those married at 13-14 years and an
TABLE 4
interval of 4 to 5 years for those married
at 11-12 years and an interval of 6 to 7 T H E AVERAGE NUMBER OF CHILDREN BORN IN THREE
GENERATIONS
for those married at 9-10 years.
In the first generation only 10 per cent
No. of women in three
No. of
Average per
had their first child within one year of their
generations
children born
mother
marriage because all of them were married
at the age between 15 and 17 years. In the First —100
684
6.84
second generation only those who were Second—100
678
6.78
Third —174
461
2.65
married earlier had a bigger gap than those
who were married slightly later. In the third
T h e number of children born to a woman
generation where the average age at marriage generally depend upon the duration of
has gone upto 19.7 years, 87 per cent had married life and the mother's age at first
an interval of 9 months to 3 years and only birth. Hence it is attempted to establish
14 per cent had an interval of 4 to 7 years. a correlation between the duration of married
Number of Children Born in Three life and the average number of children born
Generations.—The number of children born in three generations. T h e following table
to a woman through the entire length of her shows the duration of married life a n d the
married life can give an exact idea of average number of children born in three
fertility rates. Hence the first two generations generations.
TABLE 5
DURATION OF MARRIED LIFE AND THE NUMBER OF CHILDREN BORN

A N A N A L Y S I S O F I N T E R - G E N E R A T I O N FERTILITY
365
Here it must be noted that a majority of more and higher education for women from
the women in the first generation, nearly the first to the third generation. In the
one-fourth in the second generation and 7 first generation all women were illiterate,
per cent in the third generation were married
in the second generation 28 per cent were
before the attainment of puberty. Hence we illiterate,' whereas half of them were just
have calculated the duration of married life literate, but in the third generation only 10
from the age at effective marriage because the
per cent were illiterate. Besides this, in the
age at effective marriage is often higher than first generation no women ever worked out-
the age at ceremonial marriage. If the side the house, in the second generation only
mothers were a widow or separated, then her
2 per cent worked for quite some time,
age at the time of widowhood or separation whereas in the third generation nearly 20
minus the age at effective marriage has been per cent were engaged in gainful employment.
taken for calculating the length of married Hence these factors could be responsible for
life.
a decline in the average size of the family
for the same duration of married life in
Table 5 on page 364 shows that there is a three generations.
decline in the average size of the family for
the same duration of married life in three
generations. T h e decline may be attributed
Another factor with which the number of
to the factors like higher age at marriage, births m a y be correlated is the age of the
education and women's employment. As
mother at the time of the birth of the first
already mentioned the age at marriage has child. T h e table below show the age of the
gone up by 6.3 years from first to the third mother at first birth and the number of
generation. Besides there is a trend towards children born.
TABLE 6
T H E AGE OF THE MOTHER AT FIRST BIRTH AND THE NUMBER OF CHILDREN BORN IN T H R E E GENERATIONS

366
M I S S K. ANAND
The table shows that in the first genera-
mothers had, 41 per cent had a difference
tion 88 per cent of the women had their
of one to two children. Out of these 41 per
first child between 15 and 18 years, in the
cent had a difference of one to two children
second generation only 5 1 % had their first in 24 per cent the first generation had one
child during this period whereas in the third
or two children less than the second genera-
generation only 24 per cent had their first
tion and in 17 per cent the second generation
child during this period. The important fact
had one or two children more than their
is that in the first generation all the women
mothers. Nearly one-fourth, i.e. 26 per cent
had their first child before the age of 20 had a difference of three to five children and
years, in the second generation nearly one-
only 12 per cent had a difference of more than
fourth of them had their first child after the
five children. In some cases there are less
age of 20 years and in the third generation
in the first generation and more in the second
57% had their first child after the age of
and in some cases more in the first and
20 years. - In the first generation no women
less in the second.
had her first child birth after the age of
20 years. But in the second and the third
Whatever the case of relationship observed,
generations the size of the family has it appears that the family of the parents
decreased in the case of those who had their
exerts some, although small, differentiating
first child birth after the age of 20 years.
effect on fertility. Berent in "Relationship
between family sizes of two successive
"In a number of studies positive correla-
generations (1953) has also come to the
tions have been found between the number
above conclusion."*
of children born to a family and the number
of children with the husband's and or wife's
Conclusion.—A distinct downward trend
family. In other words it would appear that
in the average number of children per family
family size has a tendency to run in families.
for the same duration of married life in
This phenomenon has been interpreted by three generations is apparent. The average
some authors as evidence of the inheritance
size of the family decreased from 6.84 per
of fecundity."* Here an attempt has been family in the first generation to 2.65 in the
made to assess the contribution of inheritance
third generation.
to the total variation in individual families.
It is to be noted that here only cases of
This declining size is associated with
completed fertility have been taken (cases several important sociological factors. The
where the fertility was terminated by the advancing age at marriage accompanies and
death of the either partner have been in part explains the decreasing size of the
excluded).
family. The average age at marriage has
gone up by 6.3 years from first generation
There are 70 cases of completed fertility to the third generation. Similar changes are
in two generations i.e. the first and the also to be found in men's age at marriage.
second generation. Out of these 21 per cent
There is a trend towards higher education
had the same number of children as their
and gainful employment for women.
*Determinants and consequences of population growth, United Nations, 1953, p. 90.
The Indian Journal of Social Work, Vol. XXVII, No. 4 (January 1967).