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Socioecological Aspects of Human Reproduction in Sub-Saharan Africa

Croatian Anthropological Society; [email protected]
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  • Reproductive Ecology
  • Subsistence
  • !Kung San
  • Kavango
  • Agricultural Science


The purpose of this study was to compare fertility outcome of two populations of northern Namibia, following different ways of subsistence. The total number of offspring, but also the number of dead and surviving offspring was compared between 236 !Kung San (91 females, 145 males) hunter gatherers and 248 Kavango (87 females, 161 males) horticultural pastoralists and a small number of Kavango people living in the urban center of Rundu. While no typical differences in fertility outcome between the study populations could be observed in males, marked differences were found for the female sample. As to be expected traditional Kavango women had given birth to a higher number of children and these children had a higher chance to survive in comparison to those of !Kung San women. On the other hand Kavango females living in urban centers reported a significantly lower number of offspring. It can be concluded that even in recent populations fertility differences according to subsistence patterns are observable

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