Maternal education and family size: A case study of Muguga location, Kiambu district.
This study entitled "Maternal education and family SIze: a case study of Muguga Location, Kiambu District" was carried out between October and December 2001. The broad objective of the study was to investigate the impact of women's formal education on the family size. The second objective was to find out the other factors that have led to the decrease in family size in the research area. The main hypothesis of this study was that maternal education is the key determinant of the family size. It was therefore hypothesized that the higher the mother's education the more likely for her to have a small family, the higher the mother's education the more likely she is to use contraceptive and that formal education is positively related to decrease in family size. The study was directed towards the contribution of the scholarship understanding of the impact of maternal formal education on the family size. This work was grounded on two theories- the demographic transition theory and the demographic regulation theory. The scope of the study was limited to the study of women's education and how it influences the family size through some intervening variables such as age at first marriage, knowledge of contraceptives, change of values and norms e.t.c. A sample size 150 women aged between 15-49 years was selected from the four sub-locations making up Muguga location using the random sampling technique that incorporated the purposive method. The District of the study was selected purposively whereas the location of the study was selected using the multi-stage sampling design. Most of the data was collected through personal interviews in which the key instrument was a questionnaire with both open and close-ended questions. Other data was gathered through a focus group discussion. Two case studies were also undertaken. One of the two had many children while the other had few children. Secondary data on the study theme and variables was also used. Data presentation was based· on percentages, frequencies and cross- tabulation following the SPSS computer package. Some of the data was presented in tables, to allow good interpretation of the relationships between the dependent and independent variables. The findings indicate that women's education in Muguga location has been a key factor in the decline of the family size in the area. However, although education was found to be very significant in the decline of family size there were other factors such as peer pressure and change of attitudes that were found to contribute towards this phenomenon. The population was found to be fairly well educated -63% had secondary school and above education. Those with no education were only 3%. Most of the respondents (78%) had ever used some contraceptive. However, knowledge of contraceptives superceded user practice. A small family of 1- 2 children was preferred by the majority (60%) This study recommends that any effort directed at population control and reduction of family size must focus on improving the education status of women. It also recommends that family planning programmes should aim at changing traditional views and attitudes that hinder the practice of family planning. There is need to carry out a similar research in other parts of Kenya for comparison purposes and future policy development. There is also need to carry out a research in the same area to find out how the decline of family size has affected the lives of the people holistically .