Disparities in children's health across sociodemographic groups in Chile




Kesterson, Khristian

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In this thesis, I measure the mortality of Chilean offspring and the mothers’ marital status, education level, and age. I will use the results I gather to gain insight into the demographic changes occurring in Chile, specifically trying to ascertain if the demographic changes in Chile are indicative of a Second Demographic Transition (SDT) in the region. In this chapter, I review the demographic shift in Chile and introduce the SDT concept and place it within the frame of demographic and sociological research. I analyze the major claims and critiques. One key project of demography is to identity the form of a society. The form is a citation of a visual shape, with its boundaries defined by population characteristics, these can include the age structure, mortality and fertility rates, and other lifestyle habits that produce population changes. This is a key project because the population’s form, or shape, reveals trends in society with a quantifiable clarity. Because social trends can impact the form of the population, there can also be an analysis of the population’s changing shape to derive and identify social trends. The Second Demographic Transition is a concept that has been used to interpret demographic trends, specifically in Europe. The concept describes a shift in family formation, the timing of marriage and childbirth, using an account of ideational and value changes, which inform the family forming behavior. The main demographic effects of the SDT are delayed and lowered fertility, which are then tied to ideational and value shifts away from traditional family forms. It is presented structural, cultural, and technological changes reflected in family formation behavior, such as an increase in childbearing outside of marriage (Sobotka 2008). In the last several decades, nonmarital childbearing has increased drastically in Chile, with 64.6 percent of children being born to unmarried mothers in 2008, compared to 15.9 percent in 1960 (Salinas 2010). I will use data regarding the incidence of dead children and mothers’ sociodemographic features in consideration of the Second Demographic Transition and investigate whether it supports a hypothesis suggesting the demographic shift occurring in Chile is indicative of the SDT’s presence. When reviewing the literature surrounding the SDT I will discuss its prominent features as well as some of its criticisms.

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