One of the important arguments of supporters of an African particularism in fertility declines is the hypothesis of increasingly long birth intervals, supported by modern contraceptives, and linked to the high level of uncertainty that characterizes the continent. This hypothesis is tested with WFS and DHS in Dakar (Senegal), Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso) and Nairobi (Kenya), where the TFR is currently around three. This paper confirms that spacing plays an important role in African fertility declines: between 1978 and 2010, spacing was the first fertility-reducing factor before delaying and limiting in Nairobi (27%) and the first ex-aequo with delaying in Dakar (13%). Between 1990 and 2010, birth intervals increased from 1.6 to 3.0 times in the three capitals. While spacing has increased drastically in Nairobi and Ouagadougou, where modern contraceptive is widespread, especially among the more educated and wealthier women, modest progress in spacing is also observed in Dakar, however unrelated to modern contraceptive use or socioeconomic groups.
Presented in Session 83. Stopping, Spacing, and Postponing in the Developing World