Fertility decline in South Africa: the end of the first fertility transition?

Michel Garenne, Institut Pasteur

The paper discusses how to characterize the end of the first fertility transition in South Africa. For the country as a whole, fertility decline has been steady since the 1970’s and reached a plateau around a TFR= 2.5 in the late 1990’s. Since then, the level of fertility has been stable nationwide, as it is the case in DSS sites such as Agincourt. This level of TFR corresponds to replacement fertility in a context of very high mortality due to HIV/AIDS. The TFR can be decomposed into premarital fertility, mostly adolescent fertility, of about 0.5 children per woman and a marital fertility of about 2.0 children per woman. The case of South Africa presents a new situation of a fertility at replacement level, and a marital fertility corresponding to two children per woman, and still a TFR well above 2.1 due to an exceptionally high level of premarital fertility.

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Presented in Session 80: Fertility transition in Africa: case studies