Quick Takes: DR Congo Fertility, More on Names in India, Family Planning in Africa, and Serbian Census Results
by Carl Haub, senior visiting scholar
Fertility in Democratic Republic of Congo. The 2010 Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) of the Democratic Republic of the Congo is now available and reports a total fertility rate (TFR — the average number of children would bear in her lifetime if the birth rate of a particular year were to remain constant) of 6.3 children per woman, exactly the same as in the 2007 Demographic Health Survey (DHS). The DHS, which collected full birth histories also shows that has been essentially no change in birth rates by age of mother since at least 1988. The MICS surveys are taken by UNICEF, together with national ministries and other international organizations; DHS surveys are taken by ICF Macro as a part of the MEASURE DHS program, with a similar group of partners.
Shocking, But True. In case you missed it, 285 girls in Satara district in the Indian state of Maharashtra recently changed their first names from either the Marathi language Nakusha or Nakushi which means, get ready, “unwanted!.” District officials in Satara received certificates with their new names and a bouquet of flowers. There is a campaign in Maharashtra, where the practice is prevalent, to eliminate this naming practice. But, by tradition, naming your daughter that supposedly makes it likely that one’s next birth will be a greatly preferred boy baby. Read more here.
Family Planning in Africa: A Sometime Thing. A new study released by the Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that family planning is still largely used in Africa not to limit the number of births, but to space them. The study was conducted in Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, Senegal, Tanzania, and Uganda. The effect of this can be seen in quite a few Sub-Saharan countries. In Zambia, for example, the use of “modern contraception” (primarily the pill, injectables, and condoms) was quite high in the 2007 DHS at 32.7 percent among married women but the TFR was a lofty 3.2. In the scatterplot below, the clustering of countries with high TFRs and greatly varying levels of contraceptive use is quite clear.
Census News. Serbia has reported the results of its Oct. 1-19, 2011 Census (quite fast!). The count was 7,120,666 — 377,000 less than the 2002 count. Declines were noted in 146 out of 168 municipalities. The largest increase was in the Belgrade region, which increased by 63,000. While not completely clear from the press article, it seems as if 294,000 citizens living abroad may be included in the count. Several areas of the country with Albanian majorities, such as Presevo, Bujanovac and Medvedja boycotted the census and newly-independent Kosovo was not included in this go-round. Curiously, the Serbia Bureau of Statistics website has not been reachable for some months now, so further details are not available. Read more here.