Fertility Transition in Sub-Saharan Africa: Toward an Integrated Approach to Population Policy

John May , Georgetown University
Sara Rotenberg, Georgetown University

The population of sub-Saharan Africa is expected to quadruple between 2018 and 2100, increasing from 1.05 to 4 billion people. This projection assumes that current fertility levels (4.9 children per woman on average) will decrease to about replacement level fertility by 2100 (UN 2017 Population Projections, Medium variant). At this juncture, the key challenge is how to sustain, and if possible, accelerate the ongoing fertility decline in the region. Top-down, target-driven, and macro-level approaches to population issues have been replaced by policies that emphasize the rights, health, and welfare of individuals. In this new context, one needs to reassess population policy options for sub-Saharan Africa. This paper argues that a new integrated approach to population policy is needed, which will go beyond the traditional focus on family planning and reproductive health programs and address human rights, gender equity, female education, women's empowerment, legal reform, along with enhanced commitment from policymakers.

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 Presented in Session 27. Examining the Role of Population and Reproductive Health Policies and Practices