The Fertility Transition in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Three-Country Case Study

Open Access
Frankenfield, David
Area of Honors:
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • David Shapiro, Thesis Supervisor
  • Bee Yan Roberts, Honors Advisor
  • human fertility
  • Sub-Saharan Africa
  • demographic transition
The countries in sub-Saharan Africa have among the highest total fertility rates in the world today; however, some of these nations are farther along in the demographic transition than others. This study selects three sub-Saharan African nations based on total fertility rate and explores some of the basic determinants of fertility in each county. After background information is given on each nation an ordinary least squares regression and a logit regression is performed on individual-level DHS data from each nation, using age, education, religion, and ethnicity as the independent variables. The ordinary least squares regression uses children ever born as the dependent variable, which gives a longer outlook, while the dependent variable in the logit regression is the event of a birth in the past year. This enables comparison between determinants and their effect in the long term and short term. Women’s education emerges as a very important determinant in both regressions, and is also amenable to public policy.