Births, economic growth, mortality and murder in a developing country
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Births, economic growth, mortality and murder in a developing country

Paul A. Bourne


Births; Fertility; Fertility Rates; Murder; Mortality; Poverty; GDP Growth; Inflation; Exchange Rate; Jamaica


Background: In 1960, total fertility rate in Jamaica was 5.6 children per woman which declined by 57.5% in 2008. The reduction in fertility is primarily attributable to contraceptive measures; but murder and other selected macroeconomic variables have never been included in the literature. Objectives: This study examines murder, mortality, and selected macroeconomic variables are factors of births, using data for Jamaica from 1989-2009. Methods: The study is a secondary data analysis of statistics on Jamaica from 1989 - 2009 but also includes data on births from 1900s. Find- ings: In the decade of the 1950s, births increased by 79.9% over the decade of 1900s, grew by 22.4% in the 1960s over the previous decade and declined by 17.6% in 2000s compared with the 1990s. Four emerged as statistically significant predictors of lnbirth—inflation, GDP per capita growth, mortality and murder, with an explanatory power of 90.6%—F = 19.291, P < 0.0001. With there being a strong statistical correlation between annual exchange rate and murder (rs = 0.962), when murder was excluded and replaced by annual exchange rate, the factors influencing lnbirth was exchange rate, inflation, unemployment, GDP per capita growth and mortality—all factors account for 92.2% of the variability in lnbirth—F = 30.572, P < 0.0001. Conclusion: Murder is more that a crime it is a cause of birth decline, suggesting that public health practitioners as well as epidemiologists must take this factor into account as it is a birth determinant.