Fertility Decline in Zimbabwe

Type Working Paper - CPS RESEARCH PAPER
Title Fertility Decline in Zimbabwe
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 1996
Page numbers 0-0
URL http://blogs.lshtm.ac.uk/iantimaeus/files/2012/04/cpsrp961.pdf
The extent to which fertility has declined in Zimbabwe has been hotly debated. This paper attempts to resolve this controversy by conducting a comprehensive analysis of all the fertility data available from national censuses and surveys. This includes the first in-depth analysis of the 1994 Demographic and Health Survey data and the first combined analysis of all enquiries since 1969. As well as examining summary measures of total fertility, the study presents estimates of parity progression for each cohort interviewed in the two DHS surveys using the method proposed by Brass and Juarez to adjust for truncation bias. In addition, we check our fertility estimates against the Census enumerations by carrying out an intercensal population projection based on them.
The results suggest that fertility fell slightly during the civil war of the 1970s but may have risen briefly immediately after independence. At about the time that family planning services were made available to the whole population, a more sustained fertility decline began. This has continued into the 1990s. We agree with those that claim that the two DHS surveys underestimate current fertility. However, so do earlier enquiries. Thus, adjustment of the data leaves unaltered the conclusion that total period fertility has fallen by about a third. The total fertility rate in 1994 in Zimbabwe was about 4.7 children per woman.
Ages at the onset of childbearing have been rising in Zimbabwe. This accounts for part of the decline in period fertility. Most of the decline, however, is due to decreases in parity progression. These began at high parities early in the 1980s and spread very rapidly down to lower-order births. Progression to fourth and higher-order births had fallen by more than 25 per cent by 1994. Fertility in Zimbabwe is incontrovertibly in transition.

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