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Understanding recent fertility in South Africa

Rob Dorrington, University of Cape Town
Tom A. Moultrie, University of Cape Town

This paper assesses recent trends in South African fertility. We examine the long-term trajectory of fertility in the country from previous censuses and demonstrate that the age distribution of children enumerated in the 2011 census suggests a quantum break from that trend. Two approaches, using the 2011 census data, will be adopted. First, fitting a relational Gompertz model to the data, while, second, using the enumerated population under the age of 15 to estimate the numbers of births that would have occurred in previous years to produce the enumerated population of children under age 15. Preliminary results suggest that the TFR in the country has fluctuated markedly, especially in the period from 2002-2009. We seek to resolve whether this pattern is real or artificial using the data from this census, from previous South African censuses, as well as from publicly available data on recorded births (adjusted for incompleteness).

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Presented in Session 47: Case Studies of Stalled Fertility Transitions