This paper is an attempt to isolate the determinants of fertility in Mexico. Of the variables included, two are significant in accounting for differences in the level of completed fertility in the 32 “states” in 1970. They are the share of the labor force in agriculture, which is directly related to fertility, and the percentage of the population speaking an indigenous language, which shows an inverse relationship.

The most important factors acting to reduce total fertility rates over time are increases in life expectancy and declines in the share of the labor force in agriculture. However, based on the estimated linear relationship, these two variables by themselves are not adequate to achieve a rapid decline in fertility in the future.

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