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Inequality in total fertility rates and the proximate determinants of fertility in 21 sub-Saharan African countries
Authors: Jocelyn E. Finlay, Iván Mejía-Guevara, and Yoko Akachi
Source: PLOS ONE , 13(9): e0203344; DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0203344
Topic(s): Fertility
Country: Africa
  Multiple African Countries
Published: SEP 2018
Abstract: In this paper, we examine the inequality in the dynamics of the total fertility rate within 21 sub-Saharan African countries by wealth quintiles. We also examine the associated inequality within each country in the proximate determinants of fertility–marriage, contraception, and breastfeeding. Applying Bongaarts’ proximate determinants of fertility framework, for 14/21 countries we analyze, we find that those in the richest wealth quintiles have had a more rapid decline in fertility rates than those in the poorest wealth quintiles. The rapid decline for those in the richest wealth quintiles is attributable to delayed marriage and modest increases in contraceptive use. Although the poorest lag in fertility decline, postpartum abstinence and breastfeeding are the most important factors for them for fertility regulation. Further encouraging maternal health programs that focus on natural methods of fertility regulation will work in favor of the poorest in sub-Saharan Africa in moving through the demographic transition.