Fertility transitions in sub -Saharan Africa: Establishing the sources and determinants of reproductive change in Zimbabwe and Kenya

Amson Sibanda, University of Pennsylvania

Abstract

The primary focus of this study is to establish the course and age and parity structure of fertility decline in Zimbabwe and Kenya. There is very little controversy surrounding the fact that Botswana, Kenya, South Africa and Zimbabwe have started to experience a sustained fertility decline. However, a clear understanding of the dynamics of the decline is lacking. The various researchers who have looked at fertility change in sub-Saharan Africa have not established whether the ongoing fertility change can be attributed to shifts in starting, timing, and/or stopping patterns of childbearing. In addition, the current discourse on the fertility declines currently underway in this region has not established if fertility trends in countries like Zimbabwe and Kenya are following a single uniform pattern and to determine if this pattern resembles that of Western Europe, Asia or Latin America. This study, by using parity progression ratios and conditional age-parity specific birth probabilities explores these questions and yields substantial evidence on the unique course and structure of fertility decline in sub-Saharan Africa by offering evidence from Zimbabwe and Kenya. The study utilizes four Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) data from Zimbabwe and Kenya. The principal conclusion that can be drawn from this study is that the decline in fertility in Zimbabwe and Kenya has been a pervasive phenomenon and that the patterns are remarkably similar. The current and probably future decline of fertility in sub-Saharan Africa is being engineered by large declines in teenage fertility which are a result of postponement of first births and a marked increase in the postponement of middle and higher births among women in the prime childbearing ages (i.e. 20-29) and women in their thirties. Together, these changes are producing dramatic declines in period fertility that were never experienced in Western Europe, Asia or Latin America. ^

Subject Area

Sociology, Demography

Recommended Citation

Amson Sibanda, "Fertility transitions in sub -Saharan Africa: Establishing the sources and determinants of reproductive change in Zimbabwe and Kenya" (January 1, 1997). Dissertations available from ProQuest. Paper AAI9814916.
http://repository.upenn.edu/dissertations/AAI9814916

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