The Christian-Muslim Gap in Sub-Saharan Fertility Transitions

Victor Agadjanian, Arizona State University

The paper examines Christian-Muslim differentials in contraception and fertility in sub-Saharan countries with adequate DHS data. It detects that Muslims tend to have significantly lower contraceptive prevalence than Christians in most of West and Central Africa (WCA) even after controlling for other characteristics. In East Africa (EA), the differences are generally less pronounced and in some cases Muslims show higher contraceptive prevalence. In congruence with these patterns, in WCA Muslims have persistently higher TFRs, while the opposite is generally true of EA. Yet, when controlling for other factors, being Muslim is conducive to lower fertility in several countries in both regions. Three main theoretical perspectives--the "doctrinal differences," "minority-status," and "characteristics" hypotheses--are engaged to explain these patterns. The paper seeks additional explanations in country and regional historico-cultural peculiarities. It concludes with an assessment of possible implications of the detected differences for the future course of the sub-Saharan fertility transitions.

  See paper

Presented in Session 31: Fertility Transitions in Africa