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

  • Rulof P Burger
  • Ronelle Burger
  • Laura Rossouw

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.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1080/0376835X.2012.731779
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Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Development Southern Africa.

Volume (Year): 29 (2012)
Issue (Month): 5 (December)
Pages: 738-755

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Handle: RePEc:taf:deveza:v:29:y:2012:i:5:p:738-755
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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. Shelley Clark, 2000. "Son preference and sex composition of children: Evidence from india," Demography, Springer, vol. 37(1), pages 95-108, February.
  3. 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.
  4. 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, 08.
  5. 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.
  6. Narayan Das, 1987. "Sex preference and fertility behavior: A study of recent Indian data," Demography, Springer, vol. 24(4), pages 517-530, November.
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