Determinants Of Desired Family Size For Young Rural Parents In Nakuru County; A Case Study Of Gilgil And Naivasha Districts
Kenya’s annual population growth rate is estimated at 2.462% (World Bank, 2011). With a current population of over 41.6 million, it is anticipated that the Kenya’s population will reach 65 million by 2030 and reach 96 million by 2050 (KDHS, 2008/09). According to Global Health Facts 2010, the average number of children per woman is 4.19 against a global average of 2.46. This places Kenya among the top 35 countries with highest total fertility rates in the world. This rapid population growth poses a myriad of social and development challenges for the country. The country must devise strategies to address the rapid growth to achieve its vision 2030. Desired family size in Kenya has been placed at between 3.8 to 4.3 children by various KDHS studies. Thus desired family size closely compares with the actual family size in many parts of the country. There is need to understand what determines desired family size for young parents so as to inform population growth control strategies. The case study was conducted in Gilgil and Naivasha districts of Nakuru County. The objective was to establish the determinants of desired family size for young rural parents in Nakuru County. A questionnaire was used to collect data from Sixty Two (62) randomly selected respondents aged between 18 – 37 years. The respondents were drawn from four purposively selected sub-locations. Focus Group Discussion and key informant survey with purposively selected community leaders were conducted as well. The average desired family size in the two districts is 3.84 and 4.08 for women and men respectively. The figures compare closely with the national average. It emerged that the key consideration young parents make in deciding their family size is the financial cost of bringing up the children. Societal influence by friends and family is an important consideration for women than for men. Other important considerations include the availability of resources like land and housing. It was recommended that the government and development actors need to tailor family planning messages that ride on the determinants of desired family size. Family planning services also need to be integrated with HIV and AIDS programs to take advantage of the big number of community care givers already in the community. Moreover, there is need to institute reproductive health education in primary school curriculum.
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