Recent estimates of fertility in Botswana suggest a rapid decline of more than two births per woman between 1981 and 1988. This paper proposes that the baseline fertility was overestimated but that nonetheless fertility declined by about one birth per woman during the 1980s. The decline in fertility was linked to a deterioration in social and economic conditions caused by a major drought in the early 1980s and to the increased availability of family planning services in the same period. Fertility apparently began to rebound in the late 1980s in response to improved conditions, which came about as a result of a successful drought relief program. Future declines in fertility depend on the continued success of the family planning program, particularly in rural areas.

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