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Citation Information

Type Conference Paper - IUSSP International Seminar on Human Fertility in Africa: Trends in the last decade and prospects for change. Cape Coast, Ghana, 16-18 September 2008
Title Child spacing in Southern and Eastern Africa: Is there an “African” fertility transition underway?
Author(s)
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2008
City Cape Coast
Country/State Ghana
URL http://www.commerce.uct.ac.za/Research_Units/CARE/RESEARCH/ConferencePapers.asp
Abstract
In the early 1990s, Caldwell and others suggested a hypothesis that an African fertility decline would be characterised by declines in fertility at all ages and parities simultaneously, unlike that observed elsewhere in the developing world. Earlier research has documented the development of exceedingly long median birth intervals in South Africa, and suggested that the combination of political, economic and institutional factors associated with Africans? lives under apartheid were responsible for that pattern. This study expands that earlier research across both space and time. Particular emphasis is placed on the measurement and analysis of patterns of childbearing in eight countries using DHS data. Three distinct regional patterns of childbearing are identified, all of which are fundamentally different from those observed in an arbitrarily-chosen South East Asian country. This provides strong empirical support for the Caldwell hypothesis, and suggests that – indeed – sub-Saharan Africa is experiencing a new variant of the fertility transition.

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