Workshop on prospects for fertility decline in high fertility countries

New York 

09 July 2001 to 11 July 2001


The past four decades have witnessed tremendous changes in fertility levels in developing countries. Many countries have recorded dramatic declines in total fertility rates and in many others fertility has started to decline. Despite those trends, there remain 48 countries that have fertility levels above 5 children per woman. In Africa alone, the countries that have not yet embarked on their fertility transition account for over a fifth of the population of the continent. 

There is broad agreement about the conditions that favour the onset of fertility transition. Those include general socio-economic development, decline in mortality, improvement in female education, changing demand for children, diffusion of new ideas and strong government policies and programmes. However, there is no consensus regarding the specific conditions that need to be present for the transition to begin. Among countries that have begun their fertility transition there exist a variety of circumstances that challenge existing theories of fertility transition and defy simple characterization of the conditions that lead to fertility decline. Thus, determining the prospects for fertility decline for the current high fertility countries requires an examination of the specific conditions in those countries. 

The Population Division of the United Nations is organizing a Workshop on the Prospects for Fertility Decline in High Fertility Countries from 9-11 July 2001 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. Researchers from 14 different countries will meet to investigate the conditions that hinder or facilitate fertility decline, to provide insights into the prospects for decline and to indicate policy measures that may facilitate the onset of fertility decline. Five young researchers from Togo, Burkina Faso, Morocco, Cote D’Ivoire and the Democratic Republic of the Congo will also attend the Workshop as part of the Out-Reach Programme of the Population Division.


Organization of work

Monday, 9 July 2001

10:00 AM-1:00 PM


Morning session

I. Opening of the meeting

  • Joseph Chamie, Director, Population Division

II. Review of demographic trends in high fertility countries

  • Population Division, United Nations.  The demographic situation in high fertility countries

III. Contexts for fertility decline

  • Paulina Adebusoye (Nigeria). Socio-cultural factors affecting fertility in sub-saharan Africa. 


3:00 PM-6:00 PM


Afternoon session

  • Jean-Pierre Guengant (France) and John F. May (Belgium).  Impact of the proximate determinants on the future course of fertility in sub-Saharan Africa. 

  • Francis Dodoo (Ghana).  Fertility preferences and contraceptive use: a profitable nexus for understanding the prospects for fertility decline in Africa. 

  • Jacob Adetunji (Nigeria). Mistimed and unwanted childbearing in the course of fertility 

Tuesday, 10 July 2001

10:00 AM-1:00 PM

Morning session 

  • Samson Wasao (Kenya). A Comparative analysis of the socio-economic correlates of fertility in Cameroon and the Central African Republic

IV. Fertility trends: A comparative perspective

  • Soukeynatou Fall (Senegal) and Pierre Ngom (Kenya). Fertility decline in Francophone Africa: recent trends and future prospects

  • Eltigani Eltigani (Sudan). Levels and trends of fertility in Oman and Yemen

3:00 PM-6:00 PM

Afternoon session

  • Victor Agadjanian (USA) and Ndola Prata (USA). Trends in Angola’s fertility
  • Akim Mturi (Tanzania) and Andrew Hinde (United Kingdom). Fertility levels and differentials in Tanzania
  • James Ntozi (Uganda) and Fred E. Ahimbisibwe (Uganda). Prospects of fertility decline in the face of HIV/AIDS in Uganda
Wednesday, 11 July 2001

10:00 AM-1:00 PM

Morning session

  • Muyiwa Oladosu (Nigeria). Prospects for fertility decline in Nigeria: comparative analysis of the 1990 and 1999 NDHS data

  • David Shapiro (USA) and B. Oleko Tambashe. Fertility in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

  • Zeba Sathar (Pakistan).  Fertility decline in Pakistan: past, present and future

3:00 PM-6:00 PM

Afternoon session

  • Christine Ouedraogo (Burkina Faso. Fertility decline in rural Africa: some indications for analysis of change


V. Panel

VI. Closing

Background paper

Contributed papers