Determinants of fertility and child mortality in Cote d'Ivoire and Ghana

Type Journal Article - Living standards measurement study (LSMS) working paper
Title Determinants of fertility and child mortality in Cote d'Ivoire and Ghana
Issue LSM103
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 1994
This paper examines the relationship between child mortality and fertility in two neighboring West African countries: Cote d'Ivoire and Ghana. The authors first explore separately the reduced form determinants of fertility and child mortality, as explained by individual, household and community characteristics. Fertility is somewhat higher in Cote d'Ivoire than in Ghana and appears not to have changed recently in either country. Child mortality is high, with about 16 percent of children dying before their fifth birthday. Women's education beyond the primary level is associated with substantially lower fertility in both countries. However, in Cote d'Ivoire, income, assets and mother's height are positively related to fertility, while in Ghana they are associated with lower fertility. These results suggest that Ghana is farther along in its fertility transition than is Cote d'Ivoire. Female education has a smaller effect on child mortality in Cote d'Ivoire, where relatively fewer women are educated, than in Ghana. Community characteristics explained only a small fraction of child mortality. However, the community's average experience of child mortality is still an important predictor of the household's child mortality, suggesting that there remain unobserved community factors that lower child mortality in the two countries. Future research may uncover some of these factors and demonstrate how public policy interventions can moderate them. There was only weak statistical support for treating child mortality at the household level as endogenous to the process determining fertility. When child mortality is treated as an exogenous variable, these estimates indicate that a reduction of five child deaths would lead to a decrease in fertility of one birth. Further development of women's education in both countries is likely to play a significant role in bringing child mortality under control and slowing population growth.

Related studies