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Estimation of fertility from the 2001 South Africa Census data

5. Fertility and mortality
By T.A. Moultrie and R. Dorrington, Centre for Actuarial Research, University of Cape Town, 2004.

Fertility in South Africa has been falling for almost four decades. The 2001 South Africa Census offers the opportunity to reflect on this decline, and to assess the trajectory and patterns of fertility in the country, among its population groups and in its provinces.

The derivation of robust and reliable fertility rates is a worthwhile endeavour in its own right and represents the major portion of the present work, but to do so requires that this report discusses the quality of the data collected in the 2001 census at some length. We identify (and correct for) several significant anomalies in the data collected in the 2001 census. The two errors that give rise to the greatest concern are, first, the apparent inability of the census to capture accurately all births that occurred in the preceding twelve months, and second, the data on the number of children born to women of reproductive age are seriously deficient. All indications are that this was a result of inadequate (or incorrect) training of enumerators.

This report was prepared for Statistics South Africa.


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