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Fertility, Ethnicity, and Education in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Authors: David Shapiro, and Basile O. Tambashe
Source: African Population Studies, 31(1):3253; DOI:
Topic(s): Education
Country: Africa
  Congo Democratic Republic
Published: JAN 2017
Abstract: In the mid-1950s, a massive survey in the present Democratic Republic of the Congo revealed sharp ethnic fertility differentials. With the vast majority of women never having been to school, women’s education was not, then, pertinent to fertility. Over the succeeding decades, women increasingly went to school, especially in Kinshasa. This led to lower fertility in the capital, particularly for women with secondary schooling. At the same time, fertility differences by ethnic group diminished in the city. This paper examines fertility differences by education and by ethnicity in the entire country, distinguishing Kinshasa, other urban places, and rural areas. We find that, over all, the increased importance for fertility of education and reduced importance of ethnicity witnessed in Kinshasa is also apparent for the entire country. Regarding the sources of ethnic differences in fertility, the findings support the social characteristics hypothesis in cosmopolitan Kinshasa and the cultural hypothesis elsewhere.