Volume 27 - Article 22 | Pages 645–680

Further evidence of community education effects on fertility in sub-Saharan Africa

By Øystein Kravdal

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Date received:02 Apr 2012
Date published:13 Nov 2012
Word count:7670
Keywords:community, Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS), education, fertility, fixed effects, multilevel model, secularization, sub-Saharan Africa


Background: Earlier investigations have shown that a woman's chance of having a child, or various proximate determinants of her fertility, are influenced by the socioeconomic resources in the community in which she lives, net of her own resources.

Methods: This study, which is based on DHS surveys from 28 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, adds to the knowledge about this issue. With a focus on first and higher-order birth rates, four specific questions are addressed.

Results: One result is that the effects of the average education in the census enumeration area in which a woman lives, net of her own education, have remained stable or become stronger over the last decade. Second, these effects are most pronounced among women who score high on indicators of socioeconomic development, which suggests that they may become further strengthened. Third, effects even appear when a fixed-effects approach - based on data from two DHS surveys with GPS coordinates in each country - is employed to control for unobserved constant characteristics of units at a slightly higher level than the census enumeration area. Fourth, local processes seem to be particularly important: the education among women in the province or nearest census enumeration areas does not have a similar fertility-depressing effect.

Author's Affiliation

Øystein Kravdal - Universitetet i Oslo, Norway [Email]

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