Fertility transition in Egypt and Morocco at the turn of the century: explaining the differences

Laila El-Zeini, American University in Cairo

During the 1990s, fertility transition was going ahead in Morocco while slowing down in Egypt. This paper compares the status of the fertility transition in the two countries using DHS data. Findings indicate that the difference in the pace of fertility transition is attributable to changes in fertility preference. Unwanted fertility declined comparably in the two countries, but only Morocco witnessed a decline in wanted fertility. The decline in wanted marital fertility in Morocco was driven by the postponement of the second birth and by a decline in son preference. Decline in unmet need was the major factor in the decline of unwanted fertility in Morocco. In Egypt, the decline was equally attributable to declines in unmet need and discontinuation. While the difference in marriage patterns explains a large part of the difference between fertility levels in the two countries, it does not account for their differential pace of transition.

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Presented in Session 205: High fertility societies