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Implications of High Fertility in Developing Countries—A Multilevel Analysis Based on DHS Data

  • 2010-2013
  • Project
Kravdal, Øystein, University of Oslo

Study: “Implications of High Fertility in Developing Countries—A Multilevel Analysis Based on DHS Data”
PI(s): Kravdal, Øystein
Co-PI(s): Kodzi, Ivy
Affiliation(s): University of Oslo
Institutional Partner(s): RCN
Project Dates:
Start: 2010
End: 2013
Data Source(s): Multiple DHS Data
Methods: Multilevel Regression Analysis
Geographic Location(s): All countries in SSA that have had DHS Surveys

Few studies have examined the effects of high fertility or population growth at a subnational level, and there has been very little interest in separating effects of aggregate-level fertility from effects of individual fertility. The primary goal of this project is to assess the importance of a woman’s fertility (wanted and unwanted) and the level of fertility (alternatively, population growth or change in age structure in the village, district, or province) on her children’s welfare, measured by indicators such as mortality, nutritional status, and education. Child welfare outcomes are indicators of a family’s economic situation, and they have implications for later-life productivity. The study controls for the educational level of the woman and the average education at the relevant level of aggregation, as well as various other factors that may have had a bearing on fertility. It also explores how individual and aggregate education (and women’s autonomy) influences fertility through various pathways. The research recognizes that key effects may be context-dependent, and explores the possibility that the effects on child outcomes may have depended on the child’s gender and the gender composition of his or her siblings.

The results show that children are more likely to be stunted if they have more siblings and if the birth interval is less than 2 years. There are low odds of stunting seen in girls living in urban areas that are better educated and have older mothers. The changes of stunting increases with child’s age up to age 3 then declines. These suggest that researchers need to investigate the link between fertility and stunting more closely for further policy conclusions and implications.

Research Outputs:
Kravdal, Øystein & Kodzi, Ivy. (2011). Children’s stunting in sub-Saharan Africa: Is there an externality effect of high fertility? Demographic Research, 25(18), 565-594. DOI: 10.4054/demres.2011.25.18

Kravdal, Øystein. (2012). Further evidence of community education effects on fertility in sub-Saharan Africa. Demographic Research, 27(22), 645-680. DOI: 10.4054/demres.2012.27.22

Kodzi, Ivy & Oystein, Kravdal. (2013). What has high fertility got to do with the low birth weight problem in Africa?. Demographic Research, 28(25): 713-732. DOI: 10.4054/DemRes.2013.28.25

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