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Document Type
Working Papers
Publication Topic(s)
Fertility and Fertility Preferences
Benin, Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia
Kazuyo Machiyama and ICF Macro, Calverton, Maryland, USA
Publication Date
September 2010
Publication ID

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Some studies have suggested that the fertility decline in several sub-Saharan African countries has stalled in recent years. These studies have reached contradictory conclusions about the extent and mechanisms of fertility stalls, however, and the actual number of stalls may be overstated, due to limitations of the available data. This report re-examined recent fertility trends in Benin, Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia, where national total fertility rates (TFRs) appear to have failed to decline around 2000. In our re-examination we used three sets of data quality assessments to examine the impact of survey-related errors on the estimation of recent fertility trends. The smoothed long-term TFR trends resulting from our analysis provided compelling evidence of a stall in Kenya’s fertility decline. Benin, Rwanda, and Zambia also appeared to have stalled fertility declines. However, other stalls in fertility decline reported by previous studies appeared to be overstated. This is likely due to age displacement of children, omission, or differences between the surveys in the late 1990s and those in the early 2000s. The report recommends careful assessment of fertility trends that take into account the quality of survey data, as well as efforts to maintain the high level of DHS data quality.