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Reproductive Inequality in Sub-Saharan Africa: Differentials versus Concentration
Sarah C. Giroux, Parfait M. Eloundou-Enyegue and Daniel T. Lichter
Studies in Family Planning
Vol. 39, No. 3 (Sep., 2008), pp. 187-198
Published by: Population Council
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20454462
Page Count: 12
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Within developing countries, our understanding of reproductive inequality--how fertility is distributed within a population--has been shaped largely by studies of fertility differentials, a practical but partial-information measure. In this study, we examine whether exclusive reliance on differentials biases this understanding. Findings based on recent data from sub-Saharan Africa show bias. We find that historical and especially cross-country comparisons can yield substantially different conclusions about the magnitude and even the direction of inequality patterns and trends, depending on whether differentials or fuller-information measures are used. For instance, the fertility differentials associated with education have remained relatively stable as national fertility has fallen, but inequality (as calculated by a fuller measure) has increased. Such results underscore the value of complementing existing studies of fertility differentials with analyses based on fuller-information measures. The analyses also show how change in differential fertility behavior and in the educational composition of national populations has shaped recent variations in reproductive inequality in the region.
Studies in Family Planning © 2008 Population Council