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Fertility and changing demographics in Fiji

ANUE provided technical assistance to the Fiji Bureau of Statistics in the preparation of a monograph on fertility-focused data and analysis, drawn from the 2007 and previous census data.

Over the last century, the ratio of Fijians of Indian origin to indigenous Fijians has fluctuated dramatically.

At approximately 40% in 1921 the number of Indo-Fijians grew to just over 50% in the 1970s, and since then has declined sharply to 36%, and is expected to be approximately 26% by 2027. It’s predicted that indigenous Fijians will then make up around 70% of the population. The overall fertility rate in the country has also seen a significant decline.

These rapid demographic changes have raised some questions about the differences in fertility rates of indigenous Fijians and Indo-Fijians, and the effect it might have on the country’s future operations.

In 2007, the Fijian Government conducted a comprehensive national census on population and housing to gain an insight into the country’s inhabitants. With financial support from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), ANU Edge used the data from the 2007 and prior censuses to help prepare of a monograph on fertility-focused data and analysis.

The study, led by ANU Adjunct Associate Professor Dr Bhakta Gubhaju, examined fertility differentials by ethnicity – Fijians and Indians. It used a decomposition analysis technique to determine the components of changes in the total fertility rates due to marital structure and marital fertility, covering the intercensal periods, 1966-1976, 1976-1986, 1986-1996 and 1996-2007.

Results from the study will assist the Fijian Government in policy decisions affected by the implications of declining fertility and increasing longevity in the country. It also provides a foundation for further studies in fertility, child mortality and reproductive health in the country.

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