Publications Summary

Document Type
Analytical Studies
Publication Topic(s)
Education, Fertility and Fertility Preferences
Recommended Citation
Garenne, Michel. 2012. Education and Fertility in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Longitudinal Perspective. DHS Analytical Studies No. 33. Calverton, Maryland, USA: ICF International.
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Publication Date
December 2012
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The study analyzes long-term trends in level of education and their relationships with the fertility transition. The analysis is based on 84 DHS and related surveys in 34 African countries. Level of education is measured as the Average Years of Schooling (AYS) for adults age 20 and older. Results show a marked increase in the level of education: the AYS increased from 0.7 years for men born in 1900 to 6.9 years for men born in 1985; for women, the AYS increased from 0.2 years in 1900 to 5.6 years in 1985. The gap between men and women AYS first increased for cohorts born before 1954 (gap of 2.5 years), then decreased to 1.4 years in 1985. The increase in level of education was not regular for cohorts born after 1930. In several countries the level of education remained steady for relatively long periods, and in some countries the level of education declined, especially for the men. The relationship between long-term trends in education and in fertility was weak and complex. Countries with a higher level of education in the mid- 1970s had an earlier onset of fertility decline. However, the speed of the fertility transition, once underway, was not correlated with the level of education. After the onset of the fertility transition, the total fertility rate (TFR) had only a minor relationship with the level of education. In multivariate analysis, changes in level of education explained only a small part (13%) of the fertility decline from 1975 to 2005.


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