Trends in Reproductive Inequality in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Micro-Macro Distinction

Sarah Giroux, Cornell University
Parfait Eloundou-Enyegue, Cornell University

Previous research on reproductive inequality in developing countries has focused on micro-level inequality. We complement this work with a macro-level analysis using DHS data from sub-Saharan Africa and find that cross-country comparisons and historical analyses of reproductive inequality yield different conclusions, depending on whether one focuses on micro or macro-inequality. For instance, while micro-level inequalities do not change during the early stages of African fertility transitions, aggregate inequality have increased in most countries. In some countries, these increases in macro inequality were predominantly driven by differentiation in fertility behavior, while in others, the main driver was a change in the educational composition of the population. These findings underscore the potential importance of on-going educational (and social) transitions in Africa as an additional driver of reproductive inequality. Moreover, they reveal a growing reproductive inequality that would be missed by micro-level analyses.

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Presented in Session 150: Fertility Declines: Patterns and Causes