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Women’s education, infant and child mortality, and fertility decline in urban and rural sub-Saharan Africa

David Shapiro and Michel Tenikue
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David Shapiro: Pennsylvania State University
Michel Tenikue: Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research (LISER)

Demographic Research, 2017, vol. 37, issue 21, 669-708

Abstract: Background: This paper provides estimates of the contributions of increased women’s education and reduced infant and child mortality to fertility declines in urban and rural areas of countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, using individual-level data. Objective: The principal question that the paper addresses is: How much have increased women’s schooling and reduced mortality contributed to fertility declines in urban and rural places in each of 30 countries in sub-Saharan Africa? A secondary question is: What have been the changes in women’s schooling and mortality in urban and rural areas in these countries? Methods: Data from the first and last Demographic and Health Surveys for each country is used, along with a decomposition technique that allows us to quantify how much of the observed fertility decline is attributable to increased education and how much is due to reduced mortality. Results: In urban places, on average, increased women’s schooling accounts for 54% of observed fertility decline while reduced mortality contributes 30%. In rural areas with fertility decline, increased women’s education accounts for an average of 30% of the decline while reduced mortality accounts for an average of 35%. Results vary substantially by country and place of residence. Conclusions: Accelerating increases in women’s schooling and decreases in infant and child mortality have the potential to accelerate fertility decline in sub-Saharan Africa. Contribution: The paper uses individual-level data to provide quantitative estimates of the importance of increased women’s schooling and reduced mortality in contributing to fertility decline in sub-Saharan Africa.

Keywords: women's education; infant and child mortality; fertility decline; sub-Saharan Africa; decomposition analysis (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J1 Z0 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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DOI: 10.4054/DemRes.2017.37.21

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