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

  • Laura Rossouw


    (Department of Economics, University of Stellenbosch)

  • Rulof Burger


    (Department of Economics, University of Stellenbosch)

  • Ronelle Burger


    (Department of Economics, University of Stellenbosch)

Since 1960 South Africa has seen a steep fall in fertility levels and currently the 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 can 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 in South Africa since the 1960s. The analysis attributes a large share of the observed fertility decline across birth cohorts to improving education levels and the lower prevalence of marriage. However, a considerable segment of the transition is ascribed to the unobservables. This may include HIV/AIDS, the increased use of contraceptives and changes in intra-household relationships and the social role of women.

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File Function: Revised version (version 2), 2012
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Paper provided by Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 03/2012.

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Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision: 2012
Handle: RePEc:sza:wpaper:wpapers155
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  1. 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.
  2. Narayan Das, 1987. "Sex preference and fertility behavior: A study of recent Indian data," Demography, Springer, vol. 24(4), pages 517-530, November.
  3. Rulof Burger & Dieter von Fintel, 2009. "Determining the Causes of the Rising South African Unemployment Rate: An Age, Period and Generational Analysis," Working Papers 24/2009, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
  4. Shelley Clark, 2000. "Son preference and sex composition of children: Evidence from india," Demography, Springer, vol. 37(1), pages 95-108, February.
  5. 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.
  6. David McKenzie, 2002. "Distangling Age, Cohort and Time Effects in the Additive Model," Working Papers 02009, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
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