African fertility isn’t as high as you think

Dropping by to flag this fascinating article from Lyman Stone which puts African fertility rates in perspective.  The major takeaways were that fertility is high in Africa compared to global averages, but fertility rates are steadily declining, and are actually lower than one might expect given how poor many countries in the region still are.  As the graph below shows, average fertility in African countries tends to drop rapidly as countries get richer, and this occurs at lower income levels than is the case for most other regions.

Graph comparing fertility rates and income levels for various regions around the world

Moreover, fertility isn’t a cause of poverty, but rather a consequence of it.  In places where poor healthcare means that child mortality is high, it’s reasonable to have more children to increase the likelihood that some of them will survive to adulthood.  African countries appear to have pretty standard fertility responses to child mortality, again suggesting that African fertility rates aren’t unusually high in comparative perspective

child mortality

 

One thought on “African fertility isn’t as high as you think

  1. Hi sweetie, Thanks for sharing! Remember a few weeks ago, when Macron was quotedabout his concern for high African birth rates? It looks like the answer is notto focus on lowering birth rates – rather, to improve the quality of life -nutrition, health care, education, etc.Your thoughts? love, mom  Notice: This email contains confidential information, intended only for the individuals(s) named above. If you are NOT the intended recipient, any disclosure, forwarding, distribution, or copying of this e-mail is illegal. If you have received this communication in error, please notify us immediately by return e-mail, and delete the original message from your e-mail system. Thank you.

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