Fertility in Sub Saharan Africa: What Can We Learn from INDEPTH Sites?

Clémentine Rossier, University of Geneva
Valérie Delaunay, Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD)
Pauline Adamopoulos, University of Geneva
Martin Bangha, INDEPTH Network

Most researchers studying fertility in sub Saharan Africa use evidence from the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) These surveys are nationally representative, exist for many countries and years, and are easily available. The Health and Demographic Surveillance Systems (HDSS), grouped in the INDEPTH network, growingly constitute an alternative source of evidence on reproductive change in the region. This paper compares fertility estimates from 22 HDSS to those from the DHS, zooming on the region containing the HDSS; it will also summarize the literature on reproductive change produced today in African INDEPTH sites. The goal of this analysis is not only to contribute to the debate on the quality of the fertility data collected in the DHS and in the HDSS, but also to reflect on what the study of fertility trends in small, localized areas can contribute to scientific knowledge, in complement to the usual analyses performed at aggregate levels.

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Presented in Session 55: Data and Measurement Challenges in the Developing World - Field Validation Innovations