Reproduction in Upheaval: Ethnicity, Fertility, and Societal Transformations in Kazakhstan

Victor Agadjanian, Arizona State University
PremChand Dommaraju, Arizona State University

We examine the complexities of the demographic response to societal crises by analyzing how members of different ethnocultural groups in Kazakhstan adapted their reproductive behavior to the radical and multidimensional transformations produced by the reforms in the Soviet Union and its eventual collapse, Kazakhstan’s independence in 1991, its transition from a centrally-planned to a market economy, and its post-independence ethnic politics. Using DHS data and discrete-time logit models we analyze trends in the probabilities of first and second births and of first abortion among ever-married women from the early 1970s through the late 1990s. We detect both overall and ethnic-specific patterns in the outcomes that can be linked to the changes in the country’s social, economic, and political environment in the 1990s. We interpret our results in light of the theories of demographic transition, the minority-status group hypothesis, and the existing cross-cultural evidence on demographic responses to rapid and dramatic changes.

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Presented in Session 101: Religion, Ethnicity and Reproductive Health