Sociological and demographic determinants of fertility behavior a study of Mang'u location of Thika district
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The aim of this study was to examine how socio-economic, cultural and demographic variables relate to family size preferences in Mang'u Location, Thika District, where the total fertility rate is reported to be on the decline. This objective was based on the observation that although family planning programme has been operational in the country for over three decades, the population growth rate has remained high. In an attempt to determine the factors responsible for the situation, this study has attempted to analyse the problem by looking at the relationship between the preferred family size and the socio economic, cultural and demographic characteristics of 120 married women who were covered in the survey. If it were known why some couples prefer large families while others prefer small families, it would be easier to work out a motivation model so as to increase the number of family planning acceptors. Therefore, the main objective of this study was to fill up this gap by examining some of the socio-economic, cultural and demographic variables that are expected to discourage or to encourage high fertility in Thika District. The study sample was composed of 120 married women living in Mang'u Location, Kamwangi Division of Thika District. Simple random sampling technique was used to get the sub-locations, villages and households that were covered in this survey. The key instrument of data collection was the interview schedule. However other methods such as interviewing of key informants and simple observation were used. The questionnaire consisted of open and close-ended questions. The interview schedule focused on married women of 15-49 years. This is because this is the group that has a higher risk of conception. To determine the influence of the socio-economic, cultural and demographic variables on family size preferences, simple statistical analysis and percentages were computed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) computer programme. The variables were close-tabulated, chi-square (X2), Pearson's contingency coefficient (C) and Pearson's Correlation Coefficient (r) were used to interpret the relationships between the dependent variable and the independent variables. The study found that the size of the family preferred is getting increasingly smaller. Occupation of women and formal education were found to be the major socio-economic variables influencing the preferred family size. Majority of the respondents in this study were poor. Low income was found not to be an inevitable barrier against reduction in fertility. Land was found to be an insignificant factor for women to consider in making family size decisions. Among the socio-cultural factors, post-partum abstinence was found to be the major factor influencing the preferred family size. Religion and sex preference were found to be important factors in influencing the family size. Age at marriage and marital duration were also found to have a strong influence on the preferred family size. Low mortality was found to influence women towards a lower level of reproduction. The use of contraceptives was found to be inversely related to the preferred family size. The study has shown that the use of modem family planning methods does not conflict with traditional values. Male approval of family planning was found to be weak. Fear of the side effects of contraceptives was found to be the most important reason for not using the methods. Thus, in an attempt to accelerate a decline in family size preferences, this study has made the recommendations that:- 1. The Government should devise policies which will increase the accessibility of good quality education for women in the country. Education should be made more - affordable so that women can improve their education levels. Particularly, population education should be introduced in the school curriculum; 2. To keep down mortality, the government should plough more money into health services, child survival and save motherhood; 3. Contraceptive use should be encouraged especially among the young married women. This is because the young married women have a longer reproductive period than older women; 4. To avoid resistance to some of the modern contraceptives, dissemination of correct information about the advantages and the possible side effects of contraceptives should be organised in a manner to enable men and women to participate actively in the programme. This will enable them to be totally committed to the programme.
CitationThesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the Master of Arts degree (in Sociology)of the University of Nairobi
Department of sociology