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Adolescent Reproductive Health: The Role of Agency and Autonomy

Listed author(s):
  • Azeema Faizunnisa

    (Population Counciil, Islamabad.)

  • Minhaj Ul Haque

    (Population Counciil, Islamabad.)

The world is experiencing the largest cohort of adolescents in its history, and there are about 1 billion youngsters in this age group, most of whom belong to the developing countries. Worldwide, the adolescent age group is gaining prominence for researchers, policy-makers and donors. This issue is more important for Pakistan where about one-third of 150 million Pakistanis are in the age range of 10–24 years [Pakistan Census Organisation (2001)]. In Pakistan, the fertility transition has just begun [Sathar and Casterline (1998)], and we will have the largest cohort of young people in next five years. With a TFR of 4.1 which represents a significant decline in fertility in the past two decades for about two children [Pakistan (2003)], still we have a large population base. Nearly 33 percent of the population is aged 10–24, and ready to enter marriage and childbearing. Adolescents represents as a “bulge” in the population pyramid of Pakistan that will have serious implications at a variety of levels. Literature available on population and demographics, suggests that productive and reproductive actions of younger people will shape the size, health, and prosperity of the world’s future population. Despite rising trend in contraceptive use, rising age at marriage etc. the population will keep on increasing in absolute numbers, just due to the sheer pressure of the population momentum. Also the population moment our adolescent carry will offset the decline in population growth rates. The paper explores the linkages of such reproductive health outcomes as early marriage and contraceptive intention, desegregated by age, gender, socio-economic status, locality and province, and aims to provide essential information on predicting early marriage in Pakistan. Moreover the role of autonomy, agency and mobility will also be analysed to see if there if these factors play any role in determining the most important transition of a young person, that is marriage. It will also highlight the future demand for fertility control by analysing future intentions of Pakistani youth to use family planning. Results of this paper depict the socioeconomic and regional diversity in adolescents reproductive health across Pakistan and can be used to form youth policy and programmes in Pakistan.

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Article provided by Pakistan Institute of Development Economics in its journal The Pakistan Development Review.

Volume (Year): 42 (2003)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Pages: 569-583

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Handle: RePEc:pid:journl:v:42:y:2003:i:4:p:569-583
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  1. Lata Gangadharan & Pushkar Maitra, 2001. "The Effect of Education on the Timing of Marriage and First Birth in Pakistan," ASARC Working Papers 2001-04, The Australian National University, Australia South Asia Research Centre.
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