Population Research and Policy Review

, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 259–287 | Cite as

Education, employment, and fertility in Kinshasa and prospects for changes in reproductive behavior

  • David Shapiro
  • B. Oleko Tambashe


This paper examines fertility behavior of women in Kinshasa, Zaire's capital city with a population of roughly four million. We look at relationships linking women's education, employment, and fertility behavior (children ever born, age at first marriage, contraception, abortion, breastfeeding, and postpartum abstinence), using data from a 1990 survey of reproductive-age women. Other things equal, there are significant differences by educational attainment and by modern sector employment in lifetime fertility and in most of the proximate determinants as well. The results suggest that modern contraception and abortion are alternative fertility control strategies in Kinshasa, with abortion appearing to play an important role in contributing to the observed fertility differentials by education and employment. The dramatic increases that have taken place in women's access to secondary and higher education are likely to reduce fertility in the future, while the effects of Zaire's current economic and political crisis are uncertain. Our findings are consistent with some of the arguments of Caldwell et al. (1992) on a new type of fertility transition in sub-Saharan Africa. If Zaire seeks to lower fertility, policy efforts should be made to soften the impact of economic crisis on school enrollments and enhance opportunities for young women to remain in school, at least well into the secondary level. Policy should also seek to promote more effective ‘marketing’ and delivery of modern family planning services, so as to induce women to substitute modern contraception for abortion as a means of controlling their fertility.

Education Employment Fertility Sub-Saharan Africa Zaire 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Shapiro
    • 1
  • B. Oleko Tambashe
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Economics, Women's Studies Program, Population Research InstitutePennsylvania State UniversityUSA
  2. 2.Department of DemographyUniversity of KinshasaZaire

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