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The fertility transition in South Africa: A retrospective panel data analysis

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  • Rulof P Burger
  • Ronelle Burger
  • Laura Rossouw

Abstract

Since 1960 South Africa has seen a steep fall in fertility levels and currently its total fertility rate is the lowest on the African continent. Given the high prevailing levels of fertility in African countries, a better understanding of the factors behind the fertility transition will be valuable not only for South Africa, but also more widely for other African countries. This paper uses the National Income Dynamics Study data to construct a retrospective panel to investigate reasons for the decline in fertility. The analysis attributes a large share of the observed fertility decline across birth cohorts to improvements in education levels and the lower prevalence of marriage. However, a considerable segment of the transition is ascribed to unobservables. These may include HIV/AIDS, the increased use of contraceptives and changes in both intra-household relationships and the social role of women.

Suggested Citation

  • Rulof P Burger & Ronelle Burger & Laura Rossouw, 2012. "The fertility transition in South Africa: A retrospective panel data analysis," Development Southern Africa, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 29(5), pages 738-755, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:deveza:v:29:y:2012:i:5:p:738-755
    DOI: 10.1080/0376835X.2012.731779
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Rulof Burger & Dieter von Fintel, 2009. "Determining the Causes of the Rising South African Unemployment Rate: An Age, Period and Generational Analysis," Working Papers 158, Economic Research Southern Africa.
    2. Martin Browning & Ian Crawford & Marike Knoef, 2012. "The age-period cohort problem: set identification and point identification," CeMMAP working papers CWP02/12, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    3. David J. McKenzie, 2006. "Disentangling Age, Cohort and Time Effects in the Additive Model," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 68(4), pages 473-495, August.
    4. Alan S. Blinder, 1973. "Wage Discrimination: Reduced Form and Structural Estimates," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 8(4), pages 436-455.
    5. Shelley Clark, 2000. "Son preference and sex composition of children: Evidence from india," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 37(1), pages 95-108, February.
    6. Narayan Das, 1987. "Sex preference and fertility behavior: A study of recent Indian data," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 24(4), pages 517-530, November.
    7. Orieji Chimere-Dan, 1997. "Recent fertility patterns and population policy in South Africa," Development Southern Africa, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(1), pages 1-20.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure

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