Sandra Gonçalves

Sandra Gonçalves

Sandra Gonçalves holds an MPhil in Technical Demography (2009) from the University of Cape Town and an MSc in Population Studies (2005) from the University of the Western Cape in South Africa. She is currently a researcher at Kaleidoscopio – Research in Public Policy and Culture whilst working towards her PhD in Demography with the University of Cape Town. For her MSc thesis she looked at the AIDS transition: impact of HIV/AIDS on the demographic transition of black/African South Africans by 2021 using fertility and mortality projections from the ASSA2002 model, an AIDS demographic model of the Actuarial Society of South Africa. Her current field of interest is on the association between birth intervals and child mortality in Mozambique. For her MPhil thesis, her research focused on the effects of short preceding birth intervals on subsequent child mortality in Mozambique, whilst her current PhD research explores how child mortality influences birth intervals and reproductive behaviour in Mozambique. For her PhD, Sandra aims to determine childbearing sequence patterns in Mozambique and establish whether childbearing sequences are conditioned on spatial and temporal trends when analysed in wartime and peacetime periods. Her research mostly applies demographic and statistical methods to large scale survey data collected in the Demographic and Health Surveys conducted nationally in Mozambique since 1997.

Current position
University affiliation
Kaleidoscopio – Research in Public Policy and Culture


Sandra’s current research project is linked to desired family size where she seeks to understand the framing of child numbers in women’s childbearing calculus. Research on childbearing in contextual uncertainties (political, economic and health), suggests that numbers are absent when women express reproductive goals. Thus, the research seeks to explore and understand if there is indeed an absence of child numbers in women’s childbearing calculus due to contextual uncertainties in Mozambique through focus group discussions and semi-structured interviews. The argument put forward by the researcher is that calculus is framed in terms of a minimum number of surviving children (possibly sex specific) and not in terms of a maximum number of children. Once that minimum is attained, the final completed family size is then determined by broader political, economic and health risks.