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Wednesday, 17th of February 2010 Print

1)      Is Africa going through a fertility transition?


In Fertility Transition in SubSaharan Africa, available on the Internet at http://www.measuredhs.com/pubs/pdf/CR23/CR23.pdf

Stacy Sneeringer reviews trends in 30 countries and concludes that fertility is generally on the decline. From the executive summary:


“This study examines fertility trends for 30 sub-Saharan African countries with Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) between 1986 and 2006. The study uses women’s birth histories to construct panel data that enable calculation of fertility by mother’s birth cohort. The panel comprises women born between 1937 and 1990 and covers their fertility behavior between 1952 and 2005. The study’s focus on cohort trends in fertility distinguishes it from many other studies of fertility transition and enables examination of women’s fertility over their own lifetimes, rather than what fertility rates at a single point in time.


“. . . .The largest percentage fertility declines by age group appear for women aged 15-19. This pattern suggests that women are delaying the start of reproduction. Beyond this youngest reproductive age group, fertility declines are similar for younger and older age groups for most countries in the study.”


2)      Total fertility rates


The fertility rates for countries with available data are listed at


The world’s highest TFR is from the Republic of Niger, with 7.45 children per woman.



3)      The Demographic Transition


In the demographic transition, countries with high mortality and high birth rates move in stages towards low mortality and low birth rates. This transition  has taken place in the industrialized countries, and is taking place in some countries of Latin America, Africa and Asia where access to clean water, vaccination and health services have brought down infant and child mortality, followed by declines in birth rates.


The stages in the demographic transition are set down in



Good reading.