Socio-Demographic Factors Affecting Women's Fertility Preferences in Nigeria

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 9:45 AM
Room: Booth 54
Oral Presentation
Favour C. NTOIMO , Federal University Oye-Ekiti, Ekiti State, Nigeria
This paper examined socio-demographic factors associated with fertility preferences of women in Nigeria. Women of reproductive age in the country prefer more children than men and women’s preferred family size is close to children ever born for women aged 40-49. The country’s population is currently estimated at 174m, with the current 2.8% rate of natural increase and Total Fertility Rate of 5.7, Nigeria will be the third most populous country in the world by 2050. The overall aim of this study was to contribute to research, for more effective fertility-related policies and programmes in the country. Socio-demographic factors examined as independent variables were age, marital status, education, religion, husband’s desire for children, level of autonomy measured by final say in certain household decisions, number of respondent’s siblings, number of respondent’s co-wives, age at first birth, and age at first marriage. Dependent variable was reproductive preference measured by a single indicator - ideal number of children. Nigeria demographic and health survey 2008 women’s individual recode dataset was used. Result of multinomial regression analysis showed that the odds of preferring 6 or more children significantly declined with decreasing age, rising education, non-Catholic Christian affiliation and husband’s desire for less children. Higher autonomy significantly increased the likelihood of wanting less than 6 or more children, having or not having siblings and co-wives were not significantly related to reproductive preference for 5 instead of 6 or more children. Age at first birth and marriage significantly raised the likelihood of preferring six or more children instead of five. High fertility in a country like Nigeria is rooted in cultural beliefs about children and number, pre-natal control measures should be targeted more at women’s attitude to large family. If Nigerian women’s reproductive preferences decline, overall fertility level in the country will also decline.