War and reproduction: Angola's fertility in comparative perspective

Type Journal Article - Journal of Southern African Studies
Title War and reproduction: Angola's fertility in comparative perspective
Volume 27
Issue 2
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2001
Page numbers 329-347
URL escholarship.org/uc/item/2c20219q.pdf
For four decades, Angola has experienced war, which has inevitably influenced the country’s social development. The intensity and geographical spread of the war has fluctuated over that period. This paper examines fertility and other relevant socio-demographic characteristics in Angola and attempts to relate them to its protracted civil conflict. To situate Angola’s fertility in the sub-Saharan context, comparisons are made with a selection of other African countries. The analysis paints a picture of a generally pre-transitional society characterised by an early start of childbearing, high fertility and a contraceptive prevalence that is among the lowest in Africa. Angola also trails behind most of the sub-continent in childhood mortality and maternal care indicators. The available data suggest that Angola’s fertility drops when hostilities peak and rebounds in the periods of relative peacefulness, and that these fluctuations are stronger in regions more affected by the fighting than in less affected ones. However, there is no indication that the war has exerted any enduring and direct impact on trends in Angola’s fertility beyond its generally inhibiting effect on any improvements in social welfare that might otherwise have encouraged some fertility decline.

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