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International Journal of Population Research
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 486210, 10 pages
Research Article

Changes in Fertility Decline in Rwanda: A Decomposition Analysis

1Applied Statistics Department, University of Rwanda, University Avenue 1, B.P 117, Butare, Rwanda
2Department of Human Geography and Planning, Utrecht University, P.O. Box 80.115, NL3508TC Utrecht, The Netherlands
3International Development Studies Department, Utrecht University, P.O. Box 80.115, NL3508TC Utrecht, The Netherlands

Received 30 September 2013; Revised 4 December 2013; Accepted 8 December 2013; Published 16 January 2014

Academic Editor: Sidney R. Schuler

Copyright © 2014 Pierre Claver Rutayisire et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


After having stalled in the 1990s, fertility in Rwanda resumed its downward trajectory between 2005 and 2010. The total fertility rate declined from 6.1 to 4.6 and modern contraceptive use increased. However, it is unclear which determinants lay behind the previous stall and the recent strong drop in fertility. This paper contributes to an ongoing debate on the impact of social upheavals on fertility decline. We use a decomposition analysis, focusing on the change in characteristics and reproductive behaviour of women and their contributions to levels of fertility during 1992–2000 and 2000–2010. Results show that due to widowhood and separation the proportion of women who were married decreased between 1992 and 2000, but their fertility increased in the same period due to replacement fertility and an unmet need for family planning. After 2000, postponement of marriage and lower infant mortality contributed to lower fertility, but the most important effect is the overall lower fertility due not only to improved family planning provision but perhaps also to the sensitizing campaigns of the Rwandan government.