Socioeconomic Determinants of Fertility Rates In Sub-Saharan Africa

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Socioeconomic Determinants of Fertility Rates In Sub-Saharan Africa
Chuslo, Jacob Layne
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The structure of a developing nations' population is paramount to its economic and social welfare. Therefore, determinants of demographics and population growth (especially female welfare and societal attitudes towards women) are unequivocally related to standard macroeconomic indicators, which represent the institutional health of a nation. This study seeks to determine the relationship between total fertility rates and standard socioeconomic benchmarks throughout 45 nations in Sub-Saharan Africa. The dependent variable examined is total fertility rates, and independent variables include primary education graduation rate, legislation against female genital mutilation, GDP per capita, female labor force participation, the percentage of women in parliament, and the percentage of males using contraception. The statistical results of multiple linear regressions demonstrate that graduation from primary education is the most statistically significant determinant of total fertility rates (with a negative coefficient). Additionally, male contraception usage proved to be statistically significant in all regressions where it was not omitted for purposes of isolating other variables. All other independent variables were determined to be statistically insignificant. The results of this study indicate that education (specifically for young women) is a powerful determinant of total fertility rates throughout a developing nation. ( en )
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Awarded Bachelor of Arts, summa cum laude, on May 8, 2018. Major: Economics
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College or School: College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
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Advisor: Michelle Phillips. Advisor Department or School: Economics

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Jacob Chuslo 1 SOCIOECONOMIC DETERMINANTS OF FERTILITY RATES IN SUB SAHARAN AFRICA I. INTRODUCTION intertwinement between population, fertility, resource allocation and social productivity mandate that solving the enigma of demographic transition is paramount to, and necessary for, tackling successive development issues. Sub Saharan Africa was responsible for 11% of g lobal total fertility by women under age 20 between 2010 2015, and the region houses the largest concentration of Least Developed Countries in the world 1 Demographically, Sub Saharan Africa hinders its development culturally and politically by ignoring th e welfare of women and indirectly promoting pro fertility cultural norms. om of expression concerning childbearing (and indirectly marriage and family). This study will examine the correlation between fertility and various socioeconomic indicators to explore the II. SAMPLE T he sample for this study consists of 45 nations from Sub Saharan Africa, which will be analyzed as a cross section for the year 2014 (where data are available). This excludes Seychelles, Cape Verde (both Small Island Developing States) and South Sudan due to data 1 United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Accessed October 2, 2017. fertility patterns 2015.pdf


Jacob Chuslo 2 insufficiency. III. DEPENDENT VARIABLE Total Fertility Rate The dependent variable for this study is the Total Fertility Rate (TFR) in each of the 43 nations 2 TFR is defin ed as the average number of children a woman would bear throughout her child bearing years (age 15 49). TFR is calculated as the average of the General Fertility Rate (births per 1,000 women) for 7 age groups in increments of 5 years (inclusive) between 15 49 years of age 3 IV. INDEPENDENT VARIABLES Primary School Graduation Rate This variable is defined as the percentage of women aged 15 24 who have graduated primary school. Data are supplied by the UNESCO Global Education Monitoring Report 4 the UNESCO Institute for Statistics for the nations of Angola 5 Botswana 6 and Eritrea 7 and 2 World Bank Open Data. Accessed October 2, 2017. https://data. 3 For example, for the age group 15 19, General Fertility rate is calculated as the births per 1,000 women randomly selected from the ages of 15 19. 4 United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Global Monitoring Education Report Accessed October 2, 2017 5 Educational Policy Data Center Accessed October 2, 2017. 6 Educational Policy Data Center Accessed October 2, 2017. 7 Center. Accessed October 2, 2017. <>


Jacob Chuslo 3 8 for the years 2006 2014 9 The prevalence of primary school indicates a strong institutional foundation within a country, which is necessary to develop a healthy society and economy. State mandated formal education and fertility are negatively hics biology, and the potential impact said biology can catalyze on their nation. Higher graduation rates also act as an indicator of more stable social programs (a common proble m in upholding educational institutions) and an adverse predisposition to marriage at a young age 10 This study hypothesizes that nations with higher percentages of women graduating primary school will have a lower fertility rat e. As graduation rates increase young females are more aware of the costs and benefits of child bearing and recognizing that in the long run costs trump benefits (including the opportunity costs of employment and opportunities for further education), choose to bear fewer childr en. Legislation Against Genital Mutilation procedures involving partial or total removal of the female external genitalia or other injury to 8 ica de Guinea Equatorial Demographic and Health Surveys Program United States Agency for International Development Accessed October 2, 2017. 9 Data could not be procured for solely 2014 due to lack of observations and data sources 10 United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Accessed October 2, 2017. <>


Jacob Chuslo 4 the female genital organs for non medical reasons 11 The United Nations Population Fund finds a strong positive correlation between any of 3 types of FGM (clitoridectomy, excision, infibulation) and fertility rates, especially in nations with high adolescent fertility rates such as So malia, Eritrea, and Djibouti 12 Formal legislation against female genital mutilation is measured as a dummy variable defined as two distinct descriptions of legislation according to survey data from the UK Border ct prohibition of any and all forms of FGM, and ambiguous, non existent, or unknown to parliamentary officials. Few nations describe strict and prohibitive leg islation against FGM in their legal systems. Many Sub Saharan cultures consider FGM to be the right of passage between childhood and womanhood. As such, FGM is deeply rooted in the traditional values of motherhood and fertility. This study predicts that a s the enforcement of strict formal legislation against FGM increases, fertility rates decrease. The reasoning for this hypothesis is therefore two fold. First, tate choice amongst women. Therefore, as legislation against FGM becomes more prevalent, individual choice among women increases. Second, as legislation against FGM increases, cultural focus on motherhood and fertility decreases. Increased individual choic e coupled with a de emphasis on traditional cultural values will lead to lower fertility by fostering ambitions to pursue higher social and economic freedoms. 11 ry Of Origin Information Report: Female Genital Mutilation European Country of Origin Information Network Accessed October 2, 2017. < fgm 080708.pdf> 12 Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform United Nations. Accessed October 2, 2017. <>


Jacob Chuslo 5 Female Labor Force Participation Rate According to the World Bank, female labor force participat ion is defined as the actively searching), or first time job seekers within the formal sector. Data are collected from the se for 2014 13 The International Labor Organization finds that increased employment opportunities for female workers catalyze several beneficial effects concerning individual welfare that passively disincentivize child bearing or establishing oneself as a housewife. Changes in behavioral preference such as educational investment, sexual aversion, and an acute focus on career trajectories occur due to increased labor opportunities. 14 This study hypothesizes that as female labor force participation increases fertility decreases. While acknowledging that female labor force participation can potentially misrepresent proper working conditions and insufficient educational opportunities, as labor force participation increases, so does income, time spent away from the household, and financial independence. As independence increases, professional responsibilities and opportunities for upward mobility (and by proxy postgraduate education opportunities) increase, and so the opportunity cost of raising children increas es, thereby leading to lower fertility rates. GDP Per Capita 13 World Bank Force Participation Rate, Female (% Of Female Population Ages 15+) World Bank Open Data World Bank Group. Accessed October 5, 2017 14 Force Parti United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division Accessed October 2, 2017. <>


Jacob Chuslo 6 GDP per capita is defined by the World Bank as the total measure of final goods and midyear population measured in current U.S dollars. Data are collected for the year 15 and the United Nations 16 The fertility income relationshi p remains a paradox among economic researchers. The Malthusian school asserts that as income increase, population will unambiguously increase solely due to an abundance of income that an abunda nce of income leads to an increase in individual freedoms and advanced infrastructure, therefore increasing the opportunity cost for child bearing. The characteristics of in which increased aggregate development begets decreasing birth rates. This study hypothesizes that as GDP per capita increases, fertility rates will decline asserting that Sub Saharan Africa is currently progressing through the third demographic transit ion stage (as purchasing power). A rise in GDP per capita indicates an increased ability to access both higher quality goods and services such as institutional educati on, high grade health infrastructure and food security. As such, increasing GDP per capita within a nation also correlates with lower infant mortality rates, which the United Nations has demonstrated, and so GDP per capita also acts as an indicator of infa nt mortality 17 Additionally, the consumption of female contraception, 15 World Bank Open Data Accessed October 2, 2017. 16 United Nations Statistics Division Accessed October 2, 2017. < stats pocketbook 2016.pdf> 17


Jacob Chuslo 7 abortion services (where they are allowed), and voluntary sterilization are within reach. 18 Women in Parliament This variable is defined as the percentage of women elected to the Lower House or Single 19 Data are collected from the Inter 20 Data for women in the Senate (Upper House) is incomplete between 2000 2017 and therefor e is insuffic ient for comprehensive analysis. Female presence in local, regional, or national government has substantial effects concerning female parliamentarians profess stronger advocacy for gender equality, family & community welfare, education and health care than their male counterparts 21 Additionally, the presence of Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Accessed October 2, 2017. h ttp:// 18 (Image above of Demographic Transition Model) Bitesize The Demographic Transition Model. BBC : British Broadcasting Corporation 2014. Accessed March 2 2, 2018. < size/geography/population/population_change_structure_rev4.shtml > 19 Data for Central African Republic is procured from 2017 due to lack of any parliamentary establishment until 2017 20 Inter Inter Parliamentary Union October 2, 2017. 21 Inter


Jacob Chuslo 8 female parliamentaries social status. This study hypothesizes that higher female parliamentary representation leads to lower fertility rates. 22 Female representation begets greater focus on health programs, family planning, education and fair legal treatment for women. As legislation advances within these issues, female health and empowerment will increase, and with the advancement of individual female welfare, the opportunity cost of childbearing overtakes its benefits. Male Contraception Prevalence Male contraception prevalence is defined as the p ercentage of men who voluntarily use contraception as reported by women either married or in union between the ages of 15 49. Data 23 Data for each nation is selected fro m the years 2010 2015 except for South Africa (2003), Djibouti (2006), Somalia (2006), Botswana (2007) and Madagascar (2008) due to data inconsistency. 24 In many Sub Saharan cultures, men are dominant in decisions regarding contraception usage within relat reason for the avoidance of contraception. Women occasionally avoid family planning programs for the same reason. Voluntary male contraception represents an easing of patriarchal attitudes Inter Parliamentary Union Accessed October 2, 2017. 22 Note: This c ausality may occur in the opposite manner women with lower fertility rates may choose to devote more of their effort & resources to political endeavors. 23 United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs Accessed October 2, 2017. 24 Data could not be procured for solely 2014 due to lack of observations and data sources


Jacob Chuslo 9 contraception 25 This study hypothesizes that as male contraception usage rises, fertility rates fall. This is due to shifting cultural focuses towards male aware marriages/unions and an active female role in the decision making process. Voluntary contraception usage, at the political level, is also indicative of more acute attention to female welfare in public policy which is most not able through higher funding for family planning programs. V. RESULTS Primary School Graduation Rate (primary %) This variable was highly significant in the regression at a p value of 0.0005 which reveals that this variable is also significant at the 99% confidence interval (making this the most significant independent variable in this study). As hypothesized, the variable has a negative coefficient, affirming the prediction that as primary education increases, fertility decreases. The value of the coefficient asserts that if the collective primary graduation rate rise s by 1 percentage point women on average will bear approximately 0.0 2 16 fewer children This is marginally greater than the s tandard replacement rate fo r global total fertility (2.1). In more developed nations such as Botswana and South Africa, where the total fertility rate is just under 3 children per woman, a substantial 25 50% increase in female education harbors the potenti al to decrease total fertility be low the standard global replacement rate Additionally, primary education is more significant than male contraception usage. Education may be more effective than the 25 Blacks tone, Sarah R. & Iwelu on t raceptive Use A mong Nigerian couples: Evidence F Contraception and Reproductive Medicine 2 no. 9 ( 2017 ): 1 8.


Jacob Chuslo 10 provision of (and education concerning) contraception due to the proliferation of ideas such as sexual choice, family planning and the opportunity cost of bearing children at a very young age. Ideas such as sexual abstinence and family planning may be more ingratiated in minds within small communities due to African strong pro pensity for community relations and collectivist cult ure (which are highly prevalent in rural areas). Legislation Against Genital Mutilation (legislation) This variable was not statistically significant in the regression at a p value of 0.18 Therefore, the null hypothesis that legislation against female genital mutilation (FGM) has no effect on fertility rates, cannot be rejected with 95% confidence. The effect legislation prohibiting FGM are potentiall y weak and ineffective Female Labor Force Participation Rate (labor force) This variable was not statistically significant in the regression at a p value of 0.67. Therefore, the null hypothesis that female labor force participation rate has no effect on fertility rates, cannot be rejected with 95% confidence. GDP Per Capita (gpd per cap) This variable was not statistically significant in the regression at a p value of 0.63. Therefore, the null hypothesis that GDP per capita has no effect on fertility rates, cannot be rejected with 95% confidence. Women in Parliament (fem low hous )


Jacob Chuslo 11 This variable was not statistically significant in the regression at a p value of 0.06. Therefore, the null hypothesis, that Women in Parliament has no effect on fertility rates, cannot be rejected with 95% confidence. Male Contraception Prevalence (contraception) This variable was significant in the regression at a p value of 0.02. As hypothesized, the coeffic ient was negative at a value of 4.37 ( the strongest coefficient of all significant variables in this study ), stating that a 1 percentage point i ncrease in the male contraception usage rat e would decrease fertility by 0.04 37 children Awareness of/respect for female welfare at the individual and governmental levels is a strong potential catalyst for this result. Additionally production, wholesale purchase, transportation, distribution and use make it considera bly less costly and time consuming to distribute to the general public than other agents of change (notably primary education) Male contraception is more effective in the short run (playing the role of shock therapy) due to its ease of proliferation and s harp immediate results. Similar to primary education graduation rates, a 25 50% increase in male contraception usage has the potential to fertility rate below the standa rd global replacement rate ( 2.1 children per woman). CONCLUSION The adjusted R squared value was 0.46, indicating that a standard collection of orthodox socioeconomic indicators weakly explain s the variation in fertility rates across Sub Saharan Africa. The variables representing p rimary graduation rate s and male cont raception usage were the only statistically significant variables in this study.


Jacob Chuslo 12 The most effective predictor of fertility in this study was found to be primary education. The proliferation of ideas and tenets concerning sexual abstinence at a young, tende r age has the strongest effect on school ing age girls across the region due to both high neuroplasticity and strong interpersonal relations within villages and small communities. Modest increases in primary education across moderately or highly developed countries could decrease fertility below the standard replacement rate of 2.1 children per woman. Four supplementary regressions were conducted. The first three regressions omitted GDP per capita, male contraception usage an d legisla t ion against female mutilation each individually to account for multicollinearity and the possibility that legislation against female genital mutilation is potentially non binding. None of these three regressions changed the significance of any va riable as compared to the original regression, and coefficients (intercepts) were virtually unchanged. The fourth regression replaces GDP per capita as the same variable in the form of its natural logarithm ( ln gdp per capita) In this regression, a 1 perc entage point increase in GDP per capita would decrease fertility by 0.0002 children. This regression also did not change the significance of any variable as compared to the original regression, and again, coefficients remained unchanged. A dditionally, a re was conducted using data representing the total non urban population of each nation provided by the World Bank 26 po tentially influence fertility rates alongside aforementioned socioeconomic indicators Income, education, access to government resources and formal employment opportunities are drastically 26 World Bank. World Bank Open Data. Accessed October 2, 2017.


Jacob Chuslo 13 different in rural as compared to urban areas. In this regression, t he variable representing the percentage of women in parliament (lower house) was found to be statistically significant. One reason this may be the case is that f emale parliamentarians potentially advocate for family planning policies that support the rural population which could be a majority of their nation and possibly hold political expertise in rural affairs due to personal experiences with rural life. This study elucidates the paramount importance of primary education on fertility rates which corroborates a timeless notion that carefully constructed socioeconomic institutions and policy frameworks are more effective at decreasing fertility than short countermeasures such as contraception ( despite similar effectivene ss) Institutional economists such as Douglas North and Francis Fukuyama have consistently championed the notion that constructing strong foundations for social and economic institutions in order to engender a socially cognizant population preempt the need for short term, high intensity social intervention, which removes large financial burdens from government agencies and curtails inef ficient allocation of resources SUMMARY STATISTICS


Jacob Chuslo 14 CORRELATION MATRIX MODELS Regression 1 (main regression) 0 1 2 3 (labor 4 5 6 (contraception) + error Regression 2 0 1 2 3 4 (fem low 5 (contraception) + error Regression 3 : 0 1 2 3 4 (gdp per 5 (fem low hous) + error Regression 4 0 1 2 3 4 (fem low 5 (contraception) + error Regression 5 0 1 2 3 4 (gdp per 5 6 (contracepti 7 (rural) + error Regression 6 0 1 2 3 4 ( ln gdp 5 6 (contracepti on) + error


Jacob Chuslo 15 Regression 1 (main regression)


Jacob Chuslo 16 APPENDIX Regression 2 (Omitting GDP Per Capita) R egression 3 (Omitting Male Contraception Usage)


Jacob Chuslo 17 Regression 4 (Omitting Female Genital Mutilation) Regression 5 (Including Rural Population)


Jacob Chuslo 18 Regression 6 ( Replacing GDP per capita as its natural logarithmic form )