The demographic transition and the education of teenagers in Mexico
Vargas Valle, Eunice Danitza
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From a theoretical point of view, competition for the educational resources at the family and the population levels may change as the demographic transition advances. Although family size started to decline in the mid-1960s in México, the reduction in the size of the cohorts that compete for educational resources has recently occurred and it is an ongoing process in most municipalities of the country. Therefore, the main goal of this study was to examine the relationship between teenagers’ education and the demographic transition in México. The study explored if the teenagers’ school enrollment, age-grade delay at school and lower-secondary school attainment were linked to the teenagers’ number of siblings, as well as their cohort size in the municipality of residence in 2000. The 10% sample of the Mexican Housing and Population Census of 2000 was used as the main source of information. The study employed multivariate logistic regression models to accomplish its goals. Interactions between number of siblings and cohort size were tested. Also, interactions between these indicators and the teenagers’ gender and socioeconomic status were assessed respectively. The results indicated that contextual factors explained the initial negative association between teenagers’ education and cohort size, since this association disappeared or became small and positive after the addition of covariates. The Mexican educational system seems to have had the capacity of absorbing the demands in school coverage of the growing teenage population. The study revealed, however, that there was a large and negative association between teenagers’ education and number of siblings. Moreover, the study showed that the odds of the educational outcomes generally experienced larger changes by each additional sibling in the places where the demographic transition is more advanced, as well as among females and among the teenagers with high socioeconomic status. These results suggest that the educational disadvantages associated with multiple siblings may become more pronounced in the future and within certain contexts, as the demographic transition continues and big families become a smaller proportion of Mexican families.