oa African Population Studies - Estimations de f condit dans les pays africains : source de donn es, m thodes d' stimation, m sures r centes

Volume 1989, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0850-5780



This paper is intended first to touch on some of the problems related to the application of some indirect methods of fertility estimation on demographic data that are currently available in Africa. After a brief presentation of some of these methods which are based on information on the number of children ever born and on age-sex distribution that are gathered from surveys and censuses, discussions on correlations between estimates has led to the conclusion that estimates from reverse survival methods are accurate under certain conditions. As indicated by most recent national fertility estimates from censuses and surveys, these estimates for the majority of African countries are for the years prior to 1980. Even though this situation encourages the use of indirect techniques to get recent estimates, it is evident that in the absence of complete vital registration system, a better solution would be to undertake well designed fertility surveys. With these considerations in mind, it was then proceeded to the analysis of the levels, patterns and trends of fertility, on one hand, from most recent estimates provided by The United Nations and, on the other hand, from recent African surveys like those national surveys within the framework of the World Fertility Survey and the Demographic and Health Surveys. The other objective of this paper is to show the gap in fertility estimates that exist in African countries today at the level of small administrative areas and groups. It is, therefore, recommended to revive some to the less frequently used methods (like own-children method) that depend on data customerly collected in surveys and censuses. The estimates obtained from these methods, though they are not very precise, are good enough to provide a set of maps summarizing the information available from censuses on subnational variations in fertility. Such maps perhaps may allow to determine the different types of fertility behaviours and trends for different groups. Hence the subsaharan African populations could no longer be regarded as having identical fertility situations. It may be legitimate to think that the many different groups in Africa have the same fertility behaviour, but because of Africa's diversified culture, fertility might not decline among certain groups, or might be declining faster among others.

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