Fertility levels, trends, and differentials in Kenya: How does the own children method add to our knowledge of the transition?

Collins Opiyo, University of Pennsylvania
Michael Levin, Harvard University

The own children method of fertility estimation tracks temporal changes in fertility patterns from cross-sectional data. We revisit the Kenyan fertility transition by applying the method to 1969, 1979, 1989, and 1999 censuses, and 1989, 1993, 1998 and 2003 DHSs data. The method’s ability to provide yearly fertility rates for periods preceding the data source adds enormous knowledge to fertility patterns. For Kenya, these trends go back through the 1960s. First, the method sheds additional light on the onset of the transition. Second, the trends highlight major differences in the onset and pace of fertility decline among regions and key sub-groups. Third, the rates for overlapping periods provide both internal and external validity checks that heighten confidence in the overall results. Last, the results challenge the widespread notion that the Kenyan fertility transition has stalled. Taken together, these estimates provide more detail than ever before regarding fertility patterns in Kenya.

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Presented in Poster Session 4