Social Change, Community Context, Land Use, and First Birth Timing in an Agricultural Setting
Dirgha J. Ghimire, University of Michigan
Lynette Hoelter, University of Michigan
The dramatic changes in earth’s landscape have prompted increased interest in the links between population and land use and land cover. Previous research emphasized the notion of population pressure (population pressure increases demands on natural resources causing land use change), overlooking the potentially important effect of changes in land use on humans. Using multiple data sets from the Chitwan Valley Family Study in Nepal, we test competing hypotheses about the impact of land use on first birth timing. We argue that while agricultural land should encourage early childbearing, land area devoted to public infrastructure should discourage it. The results show that individuals from neighborhoods with larger proportions of land under agriculture experienced first birth at rates higher than those from neighborhoods with smaller proportions. On the other hand, individuals from neighborhoods with larger proportions of land under public infrastructure experienced first birth at rates lower than those from neighborhoods with smaller proportions.