Rapid fertility decline in Oman: Understanding the role of proximate determinants

M. Mazharul Islam*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Oman sees one of the fastest decline in fertility in recent time, which is largely remained unexplored. This paper analyzes fertility transition in Oman focusing on the relative contributions of the major proximate determinants of fertility. Methods: Data were extracted from national level surveys and the annual report of the Ministry of Health. Bongaarts aggregate model has been used for analyzing the role of the major proximate determinants of declining fertility. Results: Empirical analysis reveals that fertility in Oman has declined from 8.6 births per woman in 1988 to 3.3 births per woman in 2008, a decline of 5.3 births per woman or 62% decline within a short period of 20. years. Fertility has declined mainly due to synchronization of 'delaying and spacing of birth' among the younger cohorts of women and the tradition of prolonged duration of postpartum infecundability. The analysis indicates that marriage pattern has the largest fertility inhibiting effect followed by postpartum infecundability and contraception. Modernization, educational development of women and their participation in workforce are the likely factors that affect the reproductive behavior of women and thus help reduce fertility in Oman. Conclusion: Under the prevailing social and cultural norms in Oman, the prospect of further decline in fertility seems to be very slim in the near future unless the couples are strongly motivated to have smaller family size and adopt necessary actions to that effect.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMiddle East Fertility Society Journal
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Mar 21 2017


  • Bongaarts model
  • Fertility
  • Oman
  • Proximate determinants
  • Rapid fertility decline

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology


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