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Male Fertility and Internal Migration in Rural and Urban Sub-Saharan Africa
Authors: Ashira Menashe-Oren and David A. Sánchez-Páez
Source: European Journal of Population, Volume 39, issue 10; DOI:
Topic(s): Fertility
Men's health
Rural-urban differentials
Country: Africa
  Multiple African Countries
Published: MAR 2023
Abstract: ubnational differences in male fertility within sub-Saharan African countries have not been explored, nor the differences in male fertility according to migration status been sufficiently probed. We study divergences in rural and urban male fertility and investigate the relationship between male fertility and migration across 30 sub-Saharan African countries. We employ 67 Demographic and Health Surveys to estimate completed cohort fertility among men aged 50–64 according to migration status. Overall, we find that urban male fertility has declined faster than rural male fertility, widening the gap between the sectors. Rural-urban migrant men have lower fertility than their rural non-migrant counterparts. Men migrating within the rural sector have similarly high fertility as rural non-migrants, while urban–urban migrant men have even lower fertility than non-migrant urban men. Using country-fixed effects models, we find that among men with at least secondary education, differences in completed cohort fertility by migration status are widest. When we consider the timing of migration in relation to the timing of the birth of the last child, we observe that migrant men are a select group, having around two children less than non-migrant rural men. There is also evidence of adaptation to destination, though to a lesser extent. Furthermore, migration within the rural sector does not seem to be disruptive to fathering. These results indicate that rural-to-urban migration has the potential to delay rural fertility decline, and that urban male fertility is likely to decline further, especially as the proportion of urban-to-urban migration increases.