Regional Differences of Causal Effects of Urbanization on Fertility. Evidence from 174 Demographic Health Surveys (1990-2011)

Zacharie Tsala Dimbuene, Université de Kinshasa and Statistics Canada
Jose Mangalu Mobhe, University of Kinshasa

Demographers and Economists documented the relationship between urbanization and fertility. They found lower fertility levels in urban areas. However, this finding is debatable given that regressing urbanization on fertility assumes “homogeneity” between urban and rural areas. Yet it is well known that urban and rural areas are very unlike on many factors strongly correlated with fertility (e.g., education, women’s employment, age at marriage). Whether the urbanization-fertility relationship is causal or a mere association still remains a crucial unanswered question due to the cross-sectional nature of data. Using Poisson regression models with endogenous treatment effects to account for the rural-urban heterogeneity, this paper revisited the relationship between place of residence and children ever born from 174 DHS in developing countries. We found a causal negative and significant effect of urbanization on fertility. These effects varied over time. These variations are categorized as “enhancing”, “constant”, or “diminishing” effect between urbanization and fertility.

See paper.

  Presented in Session 102. Migration and Urbanization Dynamics in Africa: Patterns, Trends and Prospects