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Open Access Open Badges Research

Testing for fertility stalls in demographic and health surveys

Michel L Garenne

Author Affiliations

Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, UMI Résiliences, Paris, France

Institut Pasteur, Unité d'Epidémiologie des Maladies Emergentes, Paris, France

Witwatersrand University, School of Public Health, Johannesburg, South Africa

Population Health Metrics 2011, 9:59  doi:10.1186/1478-7954-9-59

Published: 8 December 2011


This study compares two methods for testing fertility trends and fertility stalls using Demographic and Health Surveys data. The first method is based on linear regression and uses the equivalence of period and cohort estimates with the same cumulative fertility at age 40, the same number of births, and the same distribution of women by parity. The second method is based on logistic regression. It assumes that the age pattern of fertility is constant over short periods of time. Both methods were applied to fertility trends in several African countries (Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, and Zambia). The two methods were found to predict similar values of cumulative fertility, to produce consistent slopes, to document fertility trends the same way, and to characterize fertility stalls with similar statistical evidence. They can also be used to refute apparent fertility stalls obtained when comparing two point estimates from two successive surveys.

Demographic transition; Fertility decline; Fertility stall; Statistical methods; Linear regression; Logistic regression; Poisson regression; sub-Saharan Africa