Reproductive Inequality in Sub-Saharan Africa: Differentials versus Concentration
Article first published online: 26 AUG 2008
© 2008 The Population Council, Inc.
Studies in Family Planning
Volume 39, Issue 3, pages 187–198, September 2008
How to Cite
Giroux, S. C., Eloundou-Enyegue, P. M. and Lichter, D. T. (2008), Reproductive Inequality in Sub-Saharan Africa: Differentials versus Concentration. Studies in Family Planning, 39: 187–198. doi: 10.1111/j.1728-4465.2008.166.x
- Issue published online: 26 AUG 2008
- Article first published online: 26 AUG 2008
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.