The demographic transition in Southern Africa : another look at the evidence from Botswana and Zimbabwe

by Duncan Thomas, Ityai Muvandi


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Botswana and Zimbabwe have been acclaimed as being on the vanguard of the demographic transition in sub-Saharan Africa. This paper examines the comparability of the Contraceptive Prevalence Survey (CPS) and the Demographic and Health (DHS) data for each country and finds that part of the observed decline in aggregate fertility rates in both countries can be attributed to differences in sample composition. Women of the same cohort tend to be better educated in the second survey relative to the first. This fact explains part--but not all--of the observed fertility decline; for example, it appears to account for up to half the observed decline among women age 25-34 in 1984 in Zimbabwe.

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Originally published in: Demography, v. 31, no. 2, 1994, pp. 185-207.

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