Differential paternity in Libya.

Original article


el-Faedy MA, Bean LL.

J Biosoc Sci. 1987 Oct;19(4):395-403.


Libyan census and vital statistics data from 1973 are compared with genealogical records from Utah males born between 1830 and 1834 as representative of populations not using any method of fertility control. The Libyan vital statistics data contained 97% of paternity by age, but only 85% of maternity by age. These missing data were distributed pro rata, and all data were corrected for errors in reporting. Polygamous unions were excluded because polygamy is relatively rare in Libya. The Utah data were from 185,000 genealogies of the Genealogical Society of Utah. The Libyan child-woman ratio (number of children under age 5 per number of women aged 15-49) is 1112.9, compared to 850 in Morocco, suggesting that Libya is experiencing an increase in fertility, in child survival and probably in quality of statistics. The total fertility rates for females were 11.1 for Libya and 11.2 for Utah; the total paternity rates were 14.3 and 13.7, respectively. Male rates are higher because of remarriage after divorce or death of wives. Age-specific paternity rates are tabulated and graphed: The major difference between the 2 populations is the concave shape of the curve for Libyan men under 30. Age at marriage is late, but marriage is virtually universal for Libyan men over 30. Age-specific paternity rates by occupation show apparent lack of fertility regulation in traditional occupations like farming and sales. There is evidence of some parity-related fertility control in professional and administrative workers. Production workers have a high peak in fertility around age 27.5 and 32.5, and a dip occurring at older ages. These figures can be explained by education, since education is required for professional occupations, and older professionals were trained in the West. Production workers took advantage of rapidly expanding education in Libya late in their youth, postponing marriage. Libya’s pronatalist policy forbids sale of contraceptives and provides child allowances, free education, health care, subsidized housing and social security. This paper indicates the utility of paternity data where statistics on maternity are unavailable.

Keywords: Differential paternity in Libya.