This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 13th (it will be out in January 2020), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Monday, July 15, 2013

Moroccans Applaud Their Fertility Decline

My thanks to Zia Salim for pointing me to a story from Morocco World News about a new study documenting fertility levels in that country.
Fertility levels in Morocco are falling dramatically. While in 1960 a Moroccan couple had 7 children on average, in 2011 this figure has shrunk to reach nearly two children and the trend is down. This is what the Ministry of Public Health concluded after an analysis of the demographic transition in Morocco to define the nature and the needs of health services in the years to come. The shift from traditional large families to nuclear families that have has been observed almost worldwide has, thus, been remarkably rapid in Morocco.
The strategic document released by the Ministry of Public Health shows that the age pyramid in Morocco is currently undergoing a great and profound change as a result of the drastic demographic transition. Experts attribute Morocco’s fertility decline to several reasons above which is women’s average age at marriage and married women’s contraceptive use. Also, Morocco’s family planning policy that started since 1966 has a key role in making these changes.
The study itself is similar to the Demographic and Health Surveys, although in this case technical assistance was provided by the Pan Arab Project for the Promotion of the Family (PAPFAM). The total fertility rate for the country as a whole was estimated to be 2.6, which is very similar to the figure of 2.5 found in the 2004 Morocco Demographic and Health Survey. From that perspective, the story is actually that the fertility decline--which is very real, to be sure, over the long term--may have stalled at about 2.5 children. This is largely because rural women are having about three children each, whereas urban women have reached replacement level of about 2.0.

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