Value of Children, Fertility Preferences and Reproductive Behaviour in Ogun State, Nigeria

Friday, 20 July 2018
Distributed Paper
Patrick EDEWOR, Covenant University, Nigeria
This paper is based on a study carried out in three urban and two rural communities in Ogun State, Nigeria. The study was aimed at examining the value of children, fertility preferences and reproductive behaviour. A 73-item questionnaire was administered to randomly selected 1,302 ever married women ages 15-49 and 703 men 60 years or less. The results showed that the mean age of the respondents was 35.7 years (38.8 years for men and 34.1 years for women). Marriages were mostly monogamous and the mean age at first marriage was 26.5 years for men and 22.1 years for women. The respondents were mainly of the Christian and Islamic faiths. The mean stated ideal and desired family size was 5.5 and 4.5 respectively. Almost half of the women ensured pregnancy before marriage and the mean children ever born (CEB) and living children for women ages 15-49 years were 3.6 and 3.2 respectively (5.6 and 4.8 respectively for those ages 45-49 years). Unexpectedly, ideal and desired family size, CEB and living children were higher in urban areas than in rural areas. Ideal and desired family size was higher among men than among women. The perceived economic value of children was positively related to fertility (p<.05). Those who would expect financial help from children had higher ideal and desired family size, CEB and living children than those who would not. The desire for sons was positively related to fertility (p<.001). Socio-economic status and sex of respondent were significantly related to old-age security expectation from children (p<.001). Old-age security expectation from children was stronger among women than among men. Appropriate recommendations for policy were made.