Working Paper
Delayed marriage, contraceptive use, and breastfeeding

Fertility patterns over time and wealth quintiles in sub-Saharan Africa

The rate of fertility decline has been slow in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Using the Demographic and Health Surveys for 21 SSA countries between 1990 and 2014, we examine the within-country fertility patterns by wealth, applying the Bongaarts (2015) proximate determinants model.

We find that overall, fertility has declined in SSA for the richest, but not for the poorest, and this translates to a slow decline in the national-level total fertility rate. We find that breastfeeding periods are generally declining, putting upward pressure on the fertility rate. Contraceptive use is increasing, particularly for the richest, reducing fertility for these quintiles alone.