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Adolescent childbearing in sub-Saharan Africa: Can increased schooling alone raise ages at first birth? (Volume 8 - Article 4 | Pages 93-106)

Volume 8 - Article 4 | Pages 93-106

Adolescent childbearing in sub-Saharan Africa: Can increased schooling alone raise ages at first birth?

By Neeru Gupta, Mary Mahy

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Date received: 10 Dec 2002
Date published: 14 Feb 2003
Word count: 3508
Keywords: adolescence, Africa, developing countries, education, fertility, fertility determinants
DOI: 10.4054/DemRes.2003.8.4


This article examines whether increased years of schooling exercised a consistent impact on delayed childbearing in sub-Saharan Africa. Data were drawn from Demographic and Health Surveys conducted in eight countries over the period 1987-1999. Multiple logistic regressions were used to assess trends and determinants in the probability of first
birth during adolescence. Girls' education from about the secondary level
onwards was found to be the only consistently significant covariate.
No effect of community aggregate education was discernible, after controlling for urbanity and other individual-level variables. The results reinforce previous findings that improving girls' education is a key instrument for raising ages at first birth, but suggest that increases in schooling at lower levels alone bear only somewhat on the prospects for fertility decline among adolescents.

Author's Affiliation

Neeru Gupta - World Health Organization, Switzerland [Email]
Mary Mahy - UNICEF, United States of America [Email]

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