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Fertility Decline in Kinshasa

David Shapiro
Population Studies
Vol. 50, No. 1 (Mar., 1996), pp. 89-103
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2175032
Page Count: 15
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Fertility Decline in Kinshasa
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Abstract

This paper examines key socio-economic changes over the past 40 years in the lives of women in Kinshasa, Zaire, and how those changes relate to observed fertility behaviour. Data from surveys carried out in 1955, 1975, and 1990 are used to highlight the remarkable shift that has taken place in the educational attainment of women: in the 1950s the vast majority of adult women had no formal education, while by 1990 the median woman had been to secondary school. This dramatic shift was accompanied by several related changes, including delays in age at marriage and increased participation in the labour market. Total fertility, which was estimated at 7.5 in the 1950s and had not changed much by 1975, appears to have fallen more recently, by about 1.5 children or more. This decline in fertility appears to be closely linked to the improvements in secondary schooling for women in Kinshasa.

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