Recent Fertility Changes in the Arab States: In Search of Population Policy

Andrzej Kulczycki, University of Alabama at Birmingham

This study critically examines the course of fertility transition and experience of Arab countries in setting and implementing population policy. Although fertility and population growth rates remain relatively robust, all Arab populations have now entered fertility transition which they are experiencing at dissimilar rates and under varied policy regimes. On average, fertility levels have fallen by 40% since the early 1970s. We assess the timing, pace, and extent of fertility decline, and the contribution of its component parts; examine trends in population policies; explain why similar and divergent population policies and programs have arisen across Arab states; and attempt to clarify how these relate to fertility decline. We consider the failure to adequately accommodate gender equity and the large youth bulge across the region. Among other noteworthy findings, we conclude that a decade since Cairo, population policies in the region, to the extent that they exist, have changed relatively little.

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Presented in Poster Session 1: Fertility Determinants, Family Planning, and Sexual Behavior