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Union instability and fertility in three Caribbean societies

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  31 July 2008

Robert E. Wright
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, University of London, Toronto, Canada
Ashok K. Madan
Institute for Market and Social Analysis, Toronto, Canada


This paper examines empirically the relationship between sexual union instability and fertility in three English-speaking Caribbean societies, Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad/Tobago, using data collected in the World Fertility Survey Programme. An index of cumulative fertility, the duration ratio, that controls for the biological effects of age and age at first union is used as the dependent variable in a multiple regression analysis. The statistical findings are in general agreement with previous research that has found a positive association between fertility and the number of sexual unions in these societies. However, the estimated fertility effect of belonging to different union types (i.e. married, common-law and visiting) is not uniform across the three societies.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1988

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