Journal Article

Forecasting of cohort fertility by educational level in countries with limited data availability: the case of Brazil

Population Studies, 77:2, 179–195 (2023)
Open Access


The Brazilian period total fertility rate (PTFR) dropped to 1.8 in 2010 (1.5 among those with high education). Due to shifts in fertility timing, the PTFR may provide a misleading picture of fertility levels. The consequences of these changes for the cohort total fertility rate (CTFR)—a measure free from tempo distortions—and for educational differences in completed fertility remain unknown. Due to data limitations, CTFR forecasts in low- and middle-income countries are rare. We use Brazilian censuses to reconstruct fertility rates indirectly and forecast the CTFR for all women and by educational level. Four forecasting methods indicate that the CTFR is unlikely to fall to the level of the PTFR. Educational differences in the CTFR are likely to be stark, at 0.7–0.9, larger than in many high-income countries with comparable CTFRs. We show how the CTFR can be forecasted in settings with limited data and call for more research on educational differences in completed fertility in low- and middle-income countries.

Keywords: Brazil, census data, cohort fertility, education, forecasts
The Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock is one of the leading demographic research centers in the world. It's part of the Max Planck Society, the internationally renowned German research society.