Poverty and Fertility in Sub-Saharan Africa. Evidence from 25 Countries

Bruno D. Schoumaker, Université Catholique de Louvain

The relationships between poverty and fertility have important implications for the demographic future of Sub-Saharan Africa. With half of its population living on less than 1$ per day, there will be no sustained fertility decline in Africa unless poverty is dramatically reduced or unless considerable fertility declines occur among the poor. Using the most recent Demographic and Health Surveys, the objective of this paper is to document the relationship between poverty and fertility behaviour in Sub-Saharan Africa. Results indicate strong differentials in fertility and proximate determinants by economic status in all of the 25 countries included in the study, even when controlling for education and place of residence. Analyses of fertility changes within countries also indicate that significant fertility declines have occurred among the poorest women in several countries, a result broadly consistent with an innovation diffusion framework.

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Presented in Session 31: Fertility Transitions in Africa