Fertility, Family Size Preference and Contraceptive Use in Sub-Saharan Africa: 1990-2014

Clifford O. Odimegwu, Joshua O. Akinyemi, Olufunmilayo O. Banjo, Emmanuel Olamijuwon, Emmanuel O. Amoo

Abstract

In view of an unusual transition in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) fertility, periodic re-appraisal is necessary. Using an ecological design, data from Demographic and Health Surveys between 1990 and 2014 were analysed to investigate trends in completed family size (CFS), total fertility rate (TFR), family size preference (FSP), and contraceptive prevalence rate (CPR). The correlates of changes in fertility levels, FSP and CPR were explored. Results showed that CFS declined and was lowest in Southern and Western Africa. However, average CFS for Central African countries appeared virtually the same over the period. Changes in TFR and FSP followed patterns similar to CFS. Western and Central region had very slow increase in CPR with many below 20% as at 2014. Eastern and Southern Africa had faster increase in CPR with some countries achieving almost 60%. Regression results showed that contraceptive prevalence (β= -1.96, p=0.027) and median age at first marriage (β= -0.23, p=0.06) were negatively related to TFR while employment (β= -21.7, p<0.001) was negatively related to FSP. In summary, fertility levels and family size preference declined while contraceptive use improved particularly in Southern and the Eastern Africa. Increased female labour force participation is another potential route to fertility decline in SSA. (Afr J Reprod Health 2018; 22[4]: 44-53).

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