Fertility Stall and Social-Demographic Risks Of Humanitarian Disasters In Tropical Africa, and Means Of Their Prevention

Friday, July 18, 2014: 9:06 AM
Room: Booth 54
Oral Presentation
Jack GOLDSTONE , School of Public Policy, George Mason University, Arlington, VA
Andrey KOROTAYEV , Institute for African Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia
Julia ZINKINA , Research Laboratory in Political Demography and Social Macrodynamics, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, Moscow, Russia
The recent decade has witnessed remarkable success in various aspects of socioeconomic development in Tropical Africa. However, contrary to the “development is the best contraceptive” expectations, fertility in many countries remains stalled, frequently at very high levels of 5 and more children per woman. We investigate the values and behavior pattern underlying African persistent “pro-natalism” to reveal that some of the best-recognized fertility-inhibiting aspects of development, such as female primary education and female labor participation, are far less efficient for accelerating the fertility transition in Africa than they were in the rest of the developing world. This sharpens the necessity of urgent introduction of effective measures of accelerating the fertility decline, as otherwise the rocketing population numbers will result in burgeoning youth cohorts, tremendous pressure in rural areas, hyper-urbanization, and greater risks of political violence and humanitarian catastrophes. Our analysis shows the most effective ways of accelerating the fertility transition in Tropical Africa to be the introduction of universal secondary education (with particular attention to enrollment of women in their 20s and early 30s) accompanied by re-introducing family planning campaigns as a development priority.