Fertility Differentials in sub-Saharan Africa: Applying Own-Children Methods to African Censuses

Type Book
Title Fertility Differentials in sub-Saharan Africa: Applying Own-Children Methods to African Censuses
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 1999
Publisher Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania
URL http://www.acap.upenn.edu/WorkingPaper/Papers/ACAPWP0001.pdf
We use Zambian Census data as a case study of extending what we can learn about fertility utilizing African
census data. This study presents and evaluates fertility estimates derived from linked own-children birth
histories. The paper applies the own-children method of age-specific fertility estimation to the 1990 Zambia
Census data. The first part of the paper focuses on developing strategies to link children to mothers. In our
linking process, age at first birth and current ages of women are used as the lower and upper limits in the
assignment process. Thus, for the first woman, we check if the relation code and that of the potential child
are compatible. In addition, we double check if the ages of children fit in with the woman’s reproductive
window and if the number of children still residing with her matches the total number and sex of children
who were enumerated. For each resident woman, we check information on children ever born and currently
co-residing with their mother and if these children are listed under her. The linking of children stops when
the number of children linked to a woman reaches the number of living children she reports. This step is
repeated for additional resident women in the household. The second part presents estimates of fertility
levels and trends based on the application of the own-children method and estimates from rejuvenated
children and women. Our results suggest the need for a fuller exploitation of African censuses micro data
in the study of fertility levels, trends and differentials in Africa. We present a comparison of our preliminary
own-child estimates and other estimates. Lastly, we suggests methodological improvements to linking
strategies that can be employed to get better fertility estimates in sub-Saharan Africa using census data.

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