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Women’s Education, Infant and Child Mortality, and Fertility Decline in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Quantitative Assessment

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  • SHAPIRO David
  • TENIKUE Michel

Abstract

Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) was the last major world region to experience the fertility decline that all industrialized countries have gone through and that much of the developing world has experienced in large part. It has uniquely high fertility: at present, the United Nations estimates the total fertility rate at 5.1 for SSA, compared to 2.2 for both Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean. The ongoing fertility transition in the region has been comparatively slow and subject to stalling. At the same time, women’s educational attainment and infant and child mortality have been shown in the demography literature to be important determinants of fertility and fertility decline. Since the 1980s, fertility in sub-Saharan Africa has been falling in many countries while women’s school enrollment and educational attainment have been increasing and infant and child mortality for the most part has been declining. Previous research using aggregated data has shown the importance of growth in women’s schooling and reduction in infant and child mortality as major factors contributing to fertility decline in the region. This research uses individual-level micro data and a well-known decomposition technique for analyzing differences or changes to quantify the importance of increased women’s education and declining infant and child mortality in contributing to the observed declines in fertility in numerous countries. More specifically, this paper examines the quantitative impact of these two factors in sub-Saharan Africa in contributing to the ongoing decline in fertility that has been taking place in the region. Data come from 31 countries, and are from the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS). The methodology is to decompose observed changes in fertility to changes attributable to different factors, including the two key variables of interest – women’s education and infant and child mortality – and two control variables, urbanization and age.

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  • SHAPIRO David & TENIKUE Michel, 2015. "Women’s Education, Infant and Child Mortality, and Fertility Decline in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Quantitative Assessment," LISER Working Paper Series 2015-07, LISER.
  • Handle: RePEc:irs:cepswp:2015-07
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    Cited by:

    1. David Shapiro & Michel Tenikue, 2017. "Women’s education, infant and child mortality, and fertility decline in urban and rural sub-Saharan Africa," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 37(21), pages 669-708.

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    Keywords

    Women's Education; Infant and Child Mortality; Fertility Decline; Sub-Saharan Africa; Decomposition Analysis;
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