IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Educational Attainment Differences Between Population Groups In South Africa And The Timing And Number Of Births


  • Siv Gustafsson
  • Adriaan Kalwij
  • Seble Worku


From 1981 to 2005, the total fertility rate in South Africa has been reduced from an estimated level of 4.6 to 2.8 children per woman. The relative differences in the total fertility rate between population groups, however, remain large. Our empirical analysis of the determinants of the timing of births shows that better-educated women schedule birth later and have fewer children. The differences in education between population groups account for a substantive part (up to 40%) of the differences in completed fertility between the population groups. Our findings suggest that educational reforms aimed at equal access to education, which benefit African women most, may not only improve the quality of life of women but also, through their impact on fertility behaviour, yield long-run benefits, as they will have fewer children and more resources to invest in the next generation. Copyright (c) 2009 The Authors. Journal compilation (c) 2009 Economic Society of South Africa.

Suggested Citation

  • Siv Gustafsson & Adriaan Kalwij & Seble Worku, 2009. "Educational Attainment Differences Between Population Groups In South Africa And The Timing And Number Of Births," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 77(4), pages 471-487, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:sajeco:v:77:y:2009:i:4:p:471-487

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: link to full text
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Thomas, Duncan, 1996. "Education across Generations in South Africa," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 330-334, May.
    2. Rosa Dias & Dorrit Posel, 2007. "Unemployment, Education and Skills Constraints in Post-Apartheid South Africa," Working Papers 07120, University of Cape Town, Development Policy Research Unit.
    3. Megan Louw & Servaas van der Berg & Derek Yu, 2006. "Educational attainment and intergenerational social mobility in South Africa," Working Papers 09/2006, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bla:sajeco:v:77:y:2009:i:4:p:471-487. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Wiley-Blackwell Digital Licensing) or (Christopher F. Baum). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.