Childhood Mortality and Reproductive Behavior in Sub-Saharan Africa

Stephen Obeng Gyimah, University of Western Ontario

Many developing countries have undergone remarkable demographic change since the 1950s, experiencing unprecedented declines in childhood mortality, and in most cases, a significant transition to controlled fertility. In sub-Saharan Africa, however, fertility remains high and there are unanswered questions regarding the persistence of high fertility in the region. Childhood mortality is regarded as an important determinant of reproductive behavior and it occupies a central place in demographic research. However, while the theoretical pathways through which infant and child mortality affect fertility are well understood, the empirical evidence has been inconsistent. Thus, the unsettled nature of the link between childhood mortality and fertility was a major motivation for this study. Methodologically, the paper examines the usefulness of frailty models in exploring the childhood mortality-fertility relationships using DHS data from Ghana and Kenya.

Presented in Session 10: Fertility Impact of Mortality Change