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Abstract

Catalogues the demographic changes in Bangladesh during the period 1975-2000 and examines how they relate to key socio-economic attributes. Trends are examined in population growth, growth of the working age population, women’s workforce participation, age-dependency ratio, female-male ratio, longevity, fertility, mortality and mean age at first marriage. Bangladesh has made significant breakthroughs in all these areas, a feat not matched by most other South Asian countries, but comparable with the South-East Asia region as whole. The study isolates factors contributing to the changes in each attribute. It assesses the correlation between Bangladesh’s demographic changes and selected socio-economic indicators namely, its per capita GDP, female labour force participation, per capita public health expenditure and educational achievements by both men and women. All five socio-economic variables display statistically significant correlation, in varying degrees, with measures of the demographic changes. Per capita GDP is probably the most significant determinant of demographic changes in Bangladesh. The study observes that men’s education reinforces women’s education and with increased workforce participation contributed to reduced fertility. The study suggests that the role of family planning programs in curbing population growth in Bangladesh maybe overestimated.

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