Midis de la recherche

16 novembre 2018



Leclercq 70

David Shapiro (Pennsylvania State University),
Frustrated Fertility Goals and Women’s Education in Sub-Saharan Africa

The ideal number of children is a strong indicator of the demand for children, highly correlated with the total fertility rate (TFR). Nationally, women in 16 of 34 sub-Saharan countries have a TFR exceeding their mean ideal number of children. However, disaggregating these populations by years of schooling shows that women with no or modest schooling have this pattern, while women with considerable schooling typically have a TFR less than their mean ideal number of children. This is especially so in capital cities, but also evident in other urban places and among the best-educated rural women. This suggests that these women are often failing to achieve their fertility goals. When data are examined at the micro level, the prevalence of women with fewer children than their ideal number is widespread. This paper first describes relationships between total fertility rates and ideal number of children, by education and place of residence. The discussion explores factors that contribute to fertility being lower than mean ideal number of children among highly-educated women, we examine fertility preferences of women in their 40s according to whether they have reached their ideal number of children, and we look at couples’ data on ideal number of children.