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Variations in Desired Family Size and Excess Fertility in East Africa

  • 2014
  • Journal Article
Muhoza, Dieudonné Ndaruhuye; Broekhuis, Annelet & Hooimeijer, Pieter

Publication Title: International Journal of Population Research

Abstract: This contribution studies the variation in desired family size and excess fertility in four East African countries by analyzing the combined impact of wealth, education, religious affiliation, and place of residence. The findings show an enormous heterogeneity in Kenya. Wealthy and higher educated people have fertility desires close to replacement level, regardless of religion, while poor, uneducated people, particularly those in Muslim communities, have virtually uncontrolled fertility. Rwanda is at the other extreme: poor, uneducated people have the same desired fertility as their wealthy, educated compatriots, regardless of their religion—a case of “poverty Malthusianism.”. The potential for family planning is high in both countries as more than 50% of the women having 5 children or more would have preferred to stop at 4 or less. Tanzania and Uganda have an intermediate position in desired family size and a lower potential for family planning. Generally, the main factor that sustains higher fertility is poverty exacerbated by religious norms among the poor only.

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