Volume 46 - Article 4 | Pages 97–130

Contraceptive use and fertility transitions: The distinctive experience of sub-Saharan Africa

By Aisha Dasgupta, Mark Wheldon, Vladimíra Kantorová, Philipp Ueffing

Print this page  Facebook  Twitter

 

 
Date received:15 Sep 2020
Date published:12 Jan 2022
Word count:6149
Keywords:contraceptive use, family planning, fertility, proximate determinants, sub-Saharan Africa
DOI:10.4054/DemRes.2022.46.4
Additional files:46-4_ Online_Appendix_A (pdf file, 596 kB)
 46-4_ Online_Appendix_B (pdf file, 405 kB)
 

Abstract

Background: Continued rapid population growth in sub-Saharan Africa is driven predominantly by high fertility. Contraceptive use was a key determinant of past fertility transitions. An analysis of this relationship in sub-Saharan Africa can yield a better understanding of the region’s prospects for fertility decline.

Methods: Using global estimates and projections, we describe trends in contraceptive use and fertility and analyse the relationship between the two. Timing, pace, and level parameters derived from Bayesian hierarchical models of historic contraceptive and fertility transitions are used to investigate how the experience of sub-Saharan Africa may be distinctive.

Results: Fertility in sub-Saharan Africa fell from 6.4 births per woman in 1990 to 4.6 in 2020, the highest among regions today. Contraceptive use among married/in-union women in sub-Saharan Africa increased from 13% to 33% over the same period, and remains the region with lowest use. At all levels of contraceptive use, countries of sub-Saharan Africa tend towards higher fertility compared to other regions. Transitions in contraceptive use and fertility have occurred later in sub-Saharan Africa, and have been slower in Middle and Western Africa (but not Eastern and Southern Africa), compared to the experience of Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean.

Contribution: Based on an analysis using Bayesian models, we demonstrate large differences across countries in the pace and timing of fertility and contraceptive use transitions, and we confirm that Middle and Western Africa are distinct. The findings from these separate and independent models are similar, lending additional support to the validity of these conclusions.

Author's Affiliation

Aisha Dasgupta - United Nations, United States of America [Email]
Mark Wheldon - United Nations Population Division, United States of America [Email]
Vladimíra Kantorová - United Nations Population Division, United States of America [Email]
Philipp Ueffing - United Nations Population Division, United States of America [Email]

Other articles by the same author/authors in Demographic Research

» Czech Republic: A rapid transformation of fertility and family behaviour after the collapse of state socialism
Volume 19 - Article 14

» Education and Entry into Motherhood: The Czech Republic during State Socialism and the Transition Period (1970-1997)
Special Collection 3 - Article 10

Most recent similar articles in Demographic Research

» Accuracy of wives' proxy reports of husbands' fertility preferences in sub-Saharan Africa
Volume 46 - Article 17    | Keywords: family planning, fertility, sub-Saharan Africa

» Contraceptive use and lengthening birth intervals in rural and urban Eastern Africa
Volume 38 - Article 64    | Keywords: contraceptive use, family planning, fertility

» The effect of contraception on fertility: Is sub-Saharan Africa different?
Volume 37 - Article 6    | Keywords: contraceptive use, fertility, sub-Saharan Africa

» Contraceptive use and intent in Guatemala
Volume 23 - Article 12    | Keywords: contraceptive use, family planning, fertility

» Beyond denomination: The relationship between religion and family planning in rural Malawi
Volume 19 - Article 55    | Keywords: family planning, fertility, sub-Saharan Africa