Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


This study explains and compares the variations in the relative risks and tempo of first, second and third order births among women from the Dominican Republic and Trinidad and Tobago. In Trinidad and Tobago, Indians have unique cultural traditions that are known to affect their fertility behaviour. Thus, the study also focuses on the Indian and Non-Indian women from Trinidad and Tobago.;Data are obtained from the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) that were conducted in the Dominican Republic during 1986 and in Trinidad and Tobago during 1987. A standard core questionnaire permitted comparisons between the fertility behaviour of women from the two countries. The respective samples consisted of 7648 and 3806 women aged 15-49 years. Since these women have different cohort experiences that can influence variations in their risks and tempo of childbearing, the study examines the variations in fertility of women from three different birth cohorts.;Proportional hazards techniques are used to estimate the relative risks while cumulative distribution functions are indicative of the tempo or pace of childbearing. These two dimensions of fertility behaviour have been assessed according to selected covariates associated with specific proximate determinants, demographic characteristics, behavioural practices, psychological traits, environmental factors, socioeconomic status and religious composition. These covariates, and in particular, the relative risks, permit the identification of a set of attributes that can expose women to relatively high or relative low risks of first, second and third births.;For the covariates of interest to this study, the relative risks are found to be generally consistent with theoretical expectations. In the low risk groups, Dominicans are observed to have the highest tempo of childbearing, thus providing additional support for the higher fertility levels in the Dominican Republic. In the high risk groups, and especially at higher parities, Indians are observed to have the highest tempo of childbearing. With respect to women belonging to the young and intermediate cohorts, comparative assessments of the tempo of second and third order births seem to support recent claims of declining fertility levels among Indians in Trinidad and Tobago. First births occur slowest among Non-Indian women when compared to Dominicans and Indians.



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