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

Author

Listed:
  • Laura Rossouw

    () (Department of Economics, University of Stellenbosch)

  • Rulof Burger

    () (Department of Economics, University of Stellenbosch)

  • Ronelle Burger

    () (Department of Economics, University of Stellenbosch)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Laura Rossouw & Rulof Burger & Ronelle Burger, 2012. "The fertility transition in South Africa: A retrospective panel data analysis," Working Papers 03/2012, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics, revised 2012.
  • Handle: RePEc:sza:wpaper:wpapers155
    as

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    File URL: https://www.ekon.sun.ac.za/wpapers/2012/wp032012/wp-03-2012_vers2.pdf
    File Function: Revised version (version 2), 2012
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    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. 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.
    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. 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.
    7. 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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    South Africa; fertility; education; marriage; social norms;

    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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