First Advisor

John Luke Gallup

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Economics and University Honors






Pregnancy -- Desision making -- Niger, Fertility -- Niger -- Effect of desertification on, Family planning -- Niger -- Economic aspects




While the majority of the world experienced rapid fertility decline in the second half of the twentieth century, Niger’s fertility rate has remained relatively constant. A high fertility rate in itself is not a problem for the population as long as the resulting population can be sustained by the economic activity of the population. This is not the case for Niger, as extreme droughts in the Sahel have cast doubt on the sustainability of the majority-subsistence economy since the mid-1960s. Although not extremely common, there are some demographers and fertility experts who hold the idea that fertility decision-making is driven primarily by education level and knowledge of fertility; and thus tend to promote family planning programs and formal education as a solution to high fertility. In the Nigerien context, this means that Nigeriens are lacking the knowledge to make rational decisions for the population as a whole. Although demographic research accepts formal education as one of the primary factors in fertility-level determination, education is still only one of many factors. The field of economics, however, is concerned with rationality in decision-making. Economists tend to assume that the decisions that people are making are in fact, rational, even if they may not appear to be so from an outside perspective. So the research in this thesis uses the rationality framework of the economics discipline to challenge any paternalistic notions that people are simply too uneducated to make effective fertility choices that benefit the population as a whole. This research discussed in this paper is a multiple regression analysis that uses data from the (ECVM-2011), a national household survey modeled on the World Bank’s Living Standards Measurement Surveys, to estimate the relationship between number of children per mother and various fertility factors.


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