The relationship between poverty and fertility: the case of Egypt

Elena Ambrosetti, Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED)

The aim of our research is to study the relationship between fertility and poverty in Egypt. As Schoumaker and Tabutin (1999) stated in their study about relationship between poverty and fertility, it is not easy to define a causal link between these two variables. By comparing 32 studies about this topic in the literature, they found five different categories or ways to describe such relationship. Such different relationships could be linked to the methods chosen to measure poverty phenomenon and fertility level. The research will be implemented on micro data: causal links between women fertility and household’s living standard will be observed. Our analysis will be descriptive: first results obtained show a negative relationship between poverty and fertility; also the control variables analysis (education and contraceptive use, zone and region of residence) confirms this first view. The first part of our study is based on data from the survey “Stratification, Social Mobility and Fertility” conducted on 1995-96 by the Social Research Centre of the American University in Cairo; This survey contents households and individual monthly income and expenditures data, that allowed us to implement poverty line based on the median of the monthly expenditures per capita. We will take also into account the number of households’ members using an equivalence scale. Thus, we will use the total fertility rate to measure fertility. The second part of our study will focus on the evolution of relationship between fertility and poverty over the time, exploiting Egyptian Demographic and Health Surveys (EDHS) datasets. Although the research is still in progress we can notice that total fertility rate evolution over the time is quite surprising: we notice a general decrease; however the pace of decrease is much more important for poor women and quite insignificant for medium and high standard of living households.

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Presented in Session 32: Population, development and environment in developing countries