The National Agency of Statistics and Demography’s (ANSD) 2019 Demographic and Health Survey released yesterday, showed a downward trend in the Total Fertility Rate (TFR) in Senegal.Senegalese are having fewer and fewer children. A comparison according to different sources showed that since 2005 the TFR has fallen from 5.3 children per woman in 2005 to 4.7 in 2019.
However, putting the report into perspective, fertility rates by age group increase rapidly with age, rising from 71 per thousand to 15-19 years to a peak of 228 per thousand at 25-29 years, and remain relatively high in the 30-34 (195 per thousand) and 35-39 (171 per thousand ) age groups.
Beyond that, the study noted, fertility levels decline fairly rapidly to 74 per thousand at 40-44 years of age and 21 per thousand at 45-49 years of age.
In more detail, the data show very clear differences in fertility by residence and region.
For example, urban women have significantly lower fertility than rural women (3.8 children per woman versus 5.6 children per woman), according to ANSD. Similarly, the results by region show that the average number of children per woman is higher in the central and southern regions than at the national level (5.4 and 5.3 versus 4.7 respectively).
Moreover, ANSD experts pointed out that the proportion of women who want to limit their offspring increases rapidly with the number of living children: from about 1 percent among women without children or with one living child, it rises to 3 percent among women with two living children, to 21 percent among those with four, reaching a maximum of 60 percent among women with six or more children.
The proportion of women who no longer want children has not changed in recent years, remaining at 20 percent in 2014 and 19 percent in 2018 and 2019.
In addition, the study revealed that a comparison with previous surveys showed that the proportion of teenage girls who have already started their reproductive life has tended to decrease over the past decade, from 19 percent in 2010-11 to 14 percent in 2019.
A decreasing infant mortality
The 2019 Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) also looked at infant and child mortality. And in this regard, the document pointed out, a review of the evolution of child mortality over the last 15 years using data from the various surveys confirmed that, regardless of the component of child mortality, levels have declined significantly in the period after 2005.
For example, the report stated that from 61 per thousand according to the 2005 DHS, the child mortality rate dropped to 39 ‰ in the 2015 DHS and to 29 ‰ in the current survey. In the same period the decline in child mortality also continues: the rate has dropped from 64 ‰ to 21 ‰ and 8 ‰.
Overall, child mortality has fallen from 121 ‰ to 59 ‰ and 37 ‰, ANDS concluded.
More specifically, the 2015 DHS argued that infant mortality declined from 48 ‰ in the 10-14 year period before the survey to 44 ‰ 5- 9 years before the survey to 29 ‰ in the 0-4 year period before the survey. In this period, child mortality would also have declined more significantly (from 29 ‰ to 8 ‰) and infant and child mortality would have declined from 75 ‰ to 37 ‰.
On a completely different point, ANSD study returned to the nutritional status of children. The results showed that, overall, 8 percent of children are emaciated, including 1 percent in the severe form. The highest percentage of acutely malnourished children is in the 48-59 month age group (13 percent). The level of acute malnutrition is higher in the northern and southern regions (13 percent and 11 percent).