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Fertility decline in sub-Saharan Africa: Does remarriage matter?
Authors: Ben Malinga John and Visseho Adjiwanou
Source: Population Studies, DOI:
Topic(s): Fertility
Country: Africa
  Multiple African Countries
Published: JUN 2021
Abstract: The interplay between remarriage and fertility is among the most poorly documented subjects in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), despite remarriage being one of the fundamental aspects of marriage dynamics in this region. We use Demographic and Health Survey data from 34 countries in SSA to document the association between remarriage and fertility during the reproductive years and over the fertility transition. The findings show that in 29 countries, remarried women end up having fewer children than women in intact unions, despite attaining similar or higher levels of fertility at early reproductive ages. However, remarriage is found to have a positive effect on fertility in Sierra Leone. The effects of remarriage on fertility diminish as fertility declines, with smaller effects generally observed in countries that are relatively advanced in their fertility transition and larger effects found elsewhere. These findings shed light on the role that remarriage might play in country-level fertility declines.