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The population trajectories of Bangladesh and West Bengal during the twentieth century: A comparative study.

Kamal, Nahid (2009) The population trajectories of Bangladesh and West Bengal during the twentieth century: A comparative study. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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This study traces the demographic evolution in present-day Bangladesh and West Bengal, which together comprised the former province of Bengal in British India. It presents time-trend analysis of vital rates and their proximate as well as indirect determinants using registration, census and survey data for pre and post-Partition Bengal. Evidence suggests that although the two wings were historically under the same provincial government, there were significant differences in their demographic profiles, arising from differences in occupational structure, ongoing ecological changes, religion, and in the extent of development efforts. These long-term historical disparities set the course of subsequent demography and explain the contemporary fertility and mortality differentials between Bangladesh and West Bengal. Statistical analysis of survey data suggests that a higher age at marriage in West Bengal coupled with greater levels of healthcare utilization in the state have contributed to a more favourable health situation relative to Bangladesh. The culture in West Bengal appears to be more conducive to utilization of healthcare which has been shaped by a long history of exposure to western influences and to social movements, among other considerations. It has also facilitated the process of fertility transition in West Bengal which plausibly initiated during the late 1950s. For Bangladesh, the study maintains that the synergy created by a host of factors contributed to the remarkably rapid decline in fertility during the 1980s. It is pointed out that the plateauing in the fertility rate in the country since the 1990s is testament to the fact that a strong family planning programme alone cannot complete a demographic transition. This study concludes that the culmination of ongoing socioeconomic processes over the course of the twentieth century has provided the backdrop for the demographic transition in present-day Bangladesh and West Bengal.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Sociology, Demography, South Asian Studies
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses

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