Ethnicity and Fertility Desires in Ghana

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Date

2017-12

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Publisher

University Of Ghana

Abstract

The literature has shown that fertility desires are an important indicator that can help us understand and predict the future course of fertility; however, little work has been done on its relationship to ethnicity among women in Ghana using recent nationally representative data. Therefore, this study investigates the relationship between ethnicity and fertility desires among two groups of parous women in Ghana. It critically examines the fertility desires (the desire for an additional child) of women who have their number of living children below and above the wanted fertility rate. The study was mainly based on the most recent data collected from the 2014 Ghana Demographic and Health Survey. The study utilized a total sample size of 5,584 which consists of women between the age group 15-49 years. The data were split into two groups; the first consisted of women with 1 to 3 number of living children, representing those with children below the wanted fertility rate, with a sample size of 3,437, and women with 4 or more children representing those with children above the wanted fertility rate, with a sample size of 2,111. Descriptive analysis results indicate an older, uneducated, rural, poorer, agricultural sample in the higher parity group compared to the 1 to 3 parity sample. Out of this, 77.5% of women in the lower parity group desired an additional child, whereas 23.6% women in the higher parity group desired an additional child. The cross tabulation results showed that ethnicity, child‟s age, place of residence, current age of a woman, level of education, religion, woman‟ s and husband‟s occupation, and husband‟s desire for children were all significantly related to the desire for an additional child among both groups of parous women. Binary logistic regression results indicated that ethnicity was a significant predictor of fertility desires among the two groups of women. Additionally, ethnicity remained significant even when socio-economic factors were controlled for, thus this study refutes the characteristics hypothesis. This means that even though certain ethnic groups are assimilated into more modern, socio-economic structures, they still keep their pro-natalistic beliefs. Some variables such as child‟s age, current age of a woman, religion, and husband‟s desires predicted a woman‟s desire for an additional child among both groups of parous women. Meanwhile, contraception and husband‟s occupation only predicted a woman‟s desire for an additional child for the 1 to 3 parity group. Conversely, wealth status only predicted a woman‟s desire for an additional child for the 4+ group. In conclusion, this study found that Mole-Dagbani and „Other‟ women who already have a high parity are more likely to want an additional child suggesting that these ethnic groups need to be targeted with appropriate interventions to lower their desires. Further studies need to be carried out to help understand the norms, customs, practices and beliefs that govern the major Ghanaian ethnic groups regarding their fertility desires and behaviour.

Description

MA.

Keywords

Ethnicity, Fertility, Ghana

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