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CHAPTER 1 0 SoCIOECONoMIc FAC robs: FAMILY INCOME As pointed out in Chapter S. the fertility rates observed for each of the nine NIER contexts varied considerably. Succeeding chapters showed that, at least at this level of analysis, a variety of reproduction strategies have been adopted by the populations of the different contexts. The present chapter incorporates into the analysis the socioeconomic variables. Among these, family income appears to have distinctive importance and is the focus of the discussion that follows. The analysis below is limited to the urban contexts s ince it addresses only monetary 7 Rime _^ ~ , ~ ..._, Families have been classified in four categories, depending on their per capita monthly income at the time of the survey (between 197S and 1977): (1) up to one-half the minimum wagel3 (2) between one-half and one minimum wage (3) between one and two times the minimum wage (4) over twice the minimum wage This var table has been incorporated into the analys i s according to its equivalent at the particular moment of the time of interview; this precaution was taken since th information concerned was not taken from the individual life histories, but frown data included is the form dealing with the domestic group. Although this disparity makes interpretation of the results somewhat problematic, the present analysis is only preliminary; later research will be able to incorporate variables from the life histories. The distribution of families according to income (Table 75) varies considerably from one context to the next. On the one hand, Santa Cruz ~ Cachoeiro, and Sao Jose dos Campos are somewhat similar, showing a degree of equil 196 . . _

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lg7 TABLE 75 Percent Distr ibution of Women Aged 15 Years and Over, by Per Capita Monthly Income ( in fractions of one minimum wage), Five Urban Contexts, at Time of Survey: Br az i 1 Context Up to Between 1/2 Between One Over 1/2 and One and Two Times Twice Hin. Wage Min. Wage Min. Wage Min. Wage Between 1/2 Between One and One Santa Cruz-Urt~an 2100 30~9 24~0 24~0 Cachoeiro do Itapeeirm 22.9 31~0 24.4 21.7 San Jose doe Campos 25;~1 29~3 21~6 24oG "cite 42.9 23.3 1704 1603 Parnalba-Urban 70.3 16 0 ~ 5 0 9 7.2 brium among the four income groups, though the group between one-half and one minimum wage has a slightly greater relative weight. In the Northeast, however, this equilibrium gives way to an asymmetrical distribution with a heavy concentration in the lowest bracket. Tn Recife, 42.9 percent of the families sampled fell into the first income category; an even Are striking picture is pre- sented by Parnaiba, where 70.3 percent of the families sailed fell within the per capita income bracket defined as up to half the minimum wage. These data reflect the variations in economic development Anteing the nine contexts descr ibed in the Appendix. With regard to Recife, as pointed out in the Appendix, the city's labor force has been characterized over recant decades by intense f luctuations between employment, unem ployment, odd jobs, and various kinds of urban underem- ployment. The evolutionary rate for hiring of employees and dismissals in the metropolitan region of Recife for the period 1978-79 gives some idea of this fluctuation: in industry, the number of workers hired fell from 170 to 166, while the nether of those dismissed rose from 150 to 194; in the service branch, while there was a rise in hirings from 118 to 128, dismissals also rose, from 113 to 125 (FIDEPE, 1980). Moreover, there can be no doubt about the underpayment of the labor force as a determinant of the poverty that dominates the Northeast of Brazil; even in the metropolitan region, 24 percent of all oc- cupied persons work 56 hours or more per week. As will be remembered, the urban economy of Parnaiba is linked to a subsistence- or peasant-based economy cen- tered on the large estates {latifundia), and mercantile or commodity relations have penetrated very little. The town is a collection and distribution center for products

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198 of plant extraction. It also has a small manufacturing branch that employs a. very limited number of people-- around 18 percent of the local labor force In full-time employment, while most of its production is put out to domestic or self-employed workers. As regards commerce, here, too, 95 percent c)f active workers are self-employed. Income from these activities is too low for subsistence, and it thus becomes necessary to combine extractive, industrial, and commercial activities and handicraf ts . The bottom line of Table 75 clearly reelects this picture, characterized by a small contingent of families integrated into a formal market, with the majority engaged in oc- casional or irregular activities. An analysis of female fertility for each of the f ive urban contexts and the four income groups yields some interesting observations. Table 76 shows the average number of children born to ever-married women IS years of age or over who, at the time of the survey, came within a given income bracket. This table shows, f irst, that in all the contexts sur- veyed, fertility decreases as per capita monthly income rises. In Santa Cruz do Sul, it makes little difference whether a woman belongs to the first or second income bracket; the greatest decrease is for families with per capita monthly income of over one minimum wage. In Sao Jose dos Campos ~ virtually the same picture holds true, although the coloring is somewhat more vivid. In Recife, however, it does make a difference in the average number of children whether a woman's family has ~ monthly income of between one-half and one minimum wage: compared with the first bracket, the decrease in fertility is around 30 percent. Unfortunately, it was impossible to assess the evolution of fertility for all four income groups in Par- naiba because of the extremely low number of women in the two higher brackets; for the two lower groups, however, there was a drop of 24 percent in the average number of children. Second, the table shows that, even when a given income category is kept fixed, the various contexts show differ- ent levels of fertility: Santa Cruz do Sul and Parnaiba are at one extreme of a slope, especially as regards ache first bracket, while Recife, Cachoeiro do Itapemirim, and Sao Jose dos Cantos, with some small discrepancies among themselves, form an intermediate group. This variation in the average number of children per woman, which reaches its peak--2. 49--for the poorest families, drops in a uni- form manner until it reaches 0.32 for the bracket over

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200 twice the minimum wage. If Parnaiba is eliminated from the comparison tsince the reduction in the variation may be influenced by the fact that Parnaiba is not represented in the two higher income brackets ), the maximum dif ference between the contexts for the four brackets would then be, respectively, 1. 6G, 1.27, 1. 04, and O .32. In other words, the decrease in the vat iation between contexts as the per capita monthly income of the families rises is a persis- tent trend. This trend may well reflect, among other things, the effect of the population s degree of involvement in the f ormal labor market O Such involvement requires more skill, reflected, for example, in a higher level of schooling; it also exposes people to a mass of information related to health, hygiene, sex, and reproduction. In Sao Jose dos Campos, for example' a survey of the big companies, mainly the multinationals, showed that social workers within the companies present the idea of planning to employees whose productivity is falling off; this plan- ning includes the reduction of fertility. ~ ~ ~ In their study of social institutions and reproductive behavior, Loyola and Quinte~ro (1982:43) make the following point: ~ . social institutions were observed to act basically along Centralist lines, ice., they induce or transmit, in an explicit or diffuse man- ner, the pattern of the small conjugal family, whose corollary is the idea of birth controls According to the viewpoint of the institutional agents, such a reproductive pattern is associated -- again at all points of the survey in general -- to economic and social problems (poverty, cost of living, social marginality, etc.) and appears as a solution offered to such problems in the shout or long term. However, as Loyola and Quintero note further (pp. 43-45), this institutional role varies significantly from one institution and from one context to another. Thus, to give one example of a contextual variation, the most general references to social problems can, in a large town in the South undergoing intense industrialization and with full employment (the case of Sao Jose dos Campos at the Age of the survey), be translated into other, more specific references which basically concern the disorganizing effects on the social fabric of the excessively intense pace

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201 of industrialization and immigration; in Parnaiba or Recife, they may take on the connotation of back- wardness as compared with the South, while situa- tions of unemployment and underemployment may be seen as non-residual realities which affect the population as a whole through their pathological consequences: abandoned minors, prostitution (Parnaiba and Recite), marginality and criminality (Recife). Finally, it should be noted that, in addition to the basic criteria used to select the NIHR urban contextso-the prevailing form of organization of production and the social division of labor--or perhaps even as a result of these criteria, the contexts have specific features that may help to explain fertility levels. Thus in 1950, Santa Cruz do Sul, a region with a large population of German origin, already had a fertility rate considered low by Brazilian standards; moreover, family size in Santa Cruz has been highly influenced by property size, which has fallen gradually over the last few decades because of the successive sharing of inheritances among surviving children.