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IBS Seminar, Hosted by CUPC: Fertility decline in sub-Saharan Africa

February 21, 2019 @ 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm

John Casterline, Ohio State University

Title: Fertility decline in sub-Saharan Africa: In what sense `exceptional’?

Abstract: Sub-Saharan Africa has been late to join the global fertility transition of the decades since WWII, and declines in the region have proceeded slowly once they got underway. In these and other respects, it has become common for scholars to label sub-Saharan African fertility declines as “exceptional”. This research tackles one alleged exceptionality, namely the responsiveness of fertility in Africa to social and economic development. In comparative historical analysis employing panel regression techniques, two questions are examined: (i) Conditional on level of development, is fertility higher in Africa (i.e. “Africa Effect”)? (ii) Has fertility in Africa been less responsive to the processes of economic and social development? Contrary to some existing literature, we answer both questions in the negative.

Bio: John B. Casterline is Robert T. Lazarus Professor in Population Studies at the Ohio State University, Professor of Sociology, and Director of the Institute for Population Research. He has previously held appointments at Pennsylvania State University (2005-06), the Population Council (1994-2004), and Brown University (1984-94). Casterline conducts research on fertility transition and reproductive behavior in low- and mid-income societies. In the past he directed multi-country multi-year projects on diffusion models of fertility change, unmet need for family planning (measurement and causes), and demographic transition in the Arab region. Professor Casterline has participated in primary data collection projects in the Philippines, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi. His current research consists largely of cross-national analyses of contemporary fertility declines, with a focus on Sub-Saharan Africa. Specific topics of recent investigation include: demand for children and the prospects for fertility decline in Africa; trends in birth-spacing; unwanted fertility (methods of estimation, trends). Casterline’s research has been funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health [NIH], the U.S. Agency for International Development [USAID], the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Hewlett Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation. Casterline is President of the Population Association of America [PAA]. In the past, Casterline served on the Board of Directors of the PAA, on the Committee on Population of the National Academy of Sciences, and on the Governing Council of the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population [IUSSP]. He is an elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science [AAAS]. Casterline currently is a member of the Editorial Committee of Population and Development Review, and he also serves on the Editorial Board of Demography. Casterline holds a PhD in Sociology from the University of Michigan (1980) and a BA from Yale College (1969, Phi Beta Kappa and Summa cum laude).


February 21, 2019
12:30 pm - 1:30 pm


CU Population Center
Population Program


IBS 155B
Institute of Behavioral Science 1440 15th Street
Boulder, CO 80302
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