Lagging Fertility Transition In Sub-Saharan Africa: Trends And Patterns In Selected Countries

Population Dynamics and Urbanization in Africa

  • March 2020
  • Technical Reports

The demographic transition – a shift from high fertility and mortality to low fertility and mortality – in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) does not reflect other trends worldwide. The process has been irregular and slow-paced, with stalls and even reversals in some countries. Despite SSA’s generally sluggish demographic transition, the region has the potential to reap the ‘demographic dividend’: the sustained economic growth resulting from a change in the age structure of a country’s population associated with the shift in fertility and mortality rates from high to low. Sustained declines in fertility and mortality produce a population with a larger working-age group relative to the number of dependents, which can boost the economy if there are employment opportunities and effective policies. Small numbers of children in the household generally enable more investments per child, free women to participate in formal employment and thereby generate more household savings, which can facilitate economic growth. This fact sheet focuses on key population indicators and trends in the five SSA countries: Burundi, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Mali and Niger, where the total fertility rate remains high.

Contributors to this report include Tizta Tilahun Degfie and Chimaraoke Izugbara (formerly of APHRC).



Research Scientist

Yohannes Wado

Yohannes Dibaba Wado is a Research Scientist at APHRC, working…

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