On the Roles of Increasing Women's Educational Attainment and Declining Infant and Child Mortality in Contributing to Fertility Decline in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Quantitative Assessment

David Shapiro, Pennsylvania State University
Michel Tenikue, CEPS/INSTEAD

Sub-Saharan Africa was the last major world region to experience fertility decline and it has uniquely high fertility. Fertility transition in the region has been comparatively slow and subject to stalling. Previous research using aggregated data has shown the importance of growth in women’s schooling and reduction in infant/child mortality as major factors contributing to fertility decline in the region. This research uses individual-level data and a well-known decomposition technique to quantify the importance of increased women’s education and declining infant/child mortality in contributing to the observed declines in fertility in numerous countries. Data analyzed come from 30 countries, and are from the Demographic and Health Surveys. The methodology will be 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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 Presented in Session 1. Fertility Transition in Sub-Saharan Africa