Determinants of Birth Intervals Using PWP-Gap Time Model: Tehran Case Study

Document Type : Original Article


National Institute for Population Research, Tehran, Iran


 Total fertility rate (TFR) in Iran decreased from the year 2000 and recently Iran has experienced fertility rates below replacement level. Birth interval is one of the most important determinants of fertility levels and plays a vital role in population growth rate. Due to the importance of this subject, the aim of this study was analyzing three birth intervals using three Survival Recurrent Event (SRE) models.
Materials and Methods:
In a 2017 cross-sectional fertility survey in Tehran, 610 married women, age 15-49 years, were selected by multi-stage stratified random sampling and interviewed using a structured questionnaire. The effects of selected covariates on first, second and third birth intervals were fitted to the data using the Prentice-Williams- Peterson-Gap Time (PWP-GT) SRE model in SAS 9.4.
Calendar-period had a significant effect on all three birth intervals (p <0.01). The Hazard Rate (HR) for a short birth interval for women in the most recent calendar-period (2007-2017) was lower than for the other calendarperiods. Women’s migration influenced second (P=0.044) and third birth intervals (P=0.031). The HR for both birth intervals in migrant women was 1.298 and 1.404 times shorter, respectively than non-migrant women. Women’s employment (P=0.008) and place of residence (p <0.05) also had significant effects on second birth interval; employed women and those living in developed, completely-developed and semi-developed areas, compared to unemployed women and those living in developing regions, had longer second birth intervals. Older age at marriage age increased the HR for a short third birth interval (p <0.01).
 The analysis of birth interval patterns using an appropriate statistical method provides important information for health policymakers. Based on the results of this study, younger women delayed their childbearing more than older women. Migrant women, unemployed women and women who live in developing regions gave birth to their second child sooner than non-migrant employed women, and women who lived in more developed regions. The implementation of policies which change the economic and social conditions of families could prevent increasing birth intervals and influence the fertility rate.