Explaining current fertility dynamics in tropical Africa from an anthropological perspective: a cross-cultural investigation

Cross-Cultural Research Vol/Iss. 50(3) SAGE Publications Published In Pages: 251-280
By Korotayev, Andrey V., Zinkina, Julia, Goldstone, Jack, Shulgin, Sergey


This paper presents tests of the relationships between tropical African agriculture and cultural variables regulating reproduction in order to examine a theory which suggests that the lagging or absence of tropical Africa's demographic transition is the result of pervasive 'pro-natal' cultural practices. Strength of association between these factors and non-plow agriculture, the traditional method of farming in tropical Africa, leads the authors to suggest that women's larger subsistence role in these societies favors extended family households in which child-rearing responsibilities can be shared, and polygynous marriage systems in which co-wives can contribute substantially to the family's labor productivity. These, along with erosion of regulations on postpartum sex and birth spacing which were prevalent prior to modernization, are identified as characterstics which have and will continue to resist fertility decline.

Documents and Hypotheses Filed By:jack.dunnington