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Future levels of fertility in sub-Saharan Africa: Parity-based projections

Thomas Spoorenberg, United Nations, Population Division
Mathias Lerch, Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)

The fertility transition started later in sub-Saharan Africa than in other regions of the world. Moreover, the average number of live births per woman declined more slowly there, owing to a distinct mechanism of fertility reduction. It has been argued that the fertility decline in sub-Saharan Africa proceeded through an increase in birth intervals rather than by a limitation of the number of births. Yet, curiously, despite the uniqueness of the fertility transition in sub-Saharan Africa, the various existing projections of future fertility trends and levels for the region do not properly account for the specificities in the modalities of the fertility decline. Existing projections are based either on historical national trends, or result from models accounting for future changes in education, contraception, and/or economic development. Those models do not consider specifically the specific mechanisms of fertility reduction in sub-Saharan Africa. Here, we propose new fertility projections based on recent and past changes in the probability to have an additional child. Accounting for changes in family building behaviors in the region can inform future levels and trends in fertility projections in novel ways.

Keywords: Population projections, forecasts, and estimations, Fertility and childbirth, Family demography

See extended abstract.

  Presented in Session 88. Demographic Trends: Estimates and Projections