Exploring the fertility trend in Egypt

Zakaria Al Zalak, Anne Goujon

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articlepeer-review

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The unusual fertility increase experienced by several Arab countries in the recent years
is particularly visible in Egypt, where fertility declined very slowly after 2000 and
started to increase again between 2008 and 2014.
We first check the quality and measurement accuracy of Demographic and Health
Surveys (DHS). The analysis confirms the trend since 2000. We descriptively look for
possible underlying causes.
We use quality criteria to check DHS data and control for tempo effect. We also
perform a proximate determinants analysis to study the mechanisms affecting fertility,
particularly marriage and contraceptive use patterns.
The trend in fertility, which has been at a level slightly below 3.5 children per woman
since 2000, is due to an increase in parity one-to-three children and a steady decline in
parity four-and-more children. While changes in contraception use had the largest and a
growing suppressing effect before 2000, after the turn of the century there was no
change in the impact of either marriage or contraception on fertility.
We find that well-educated women between 20 and 29 years lack labour market
opportunities. They may have preponed their fertility. Fertility could start declining
again once the labour market situation for women has improved. On the other hand, the
family model of three children is still widespread in the Country. CONTRIBUTION
The article studies the fertility increase in Egypt. It contributes to the literature on
exceptions to the demographic transition, such as stalls in fertility decline, particularly
in the context of Arab countries.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)995-1030
JournalDemographic Research
Issue number32
Publication statusPublished - 11 Oct 2017
Externally publishedYes

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