Determinants of fertility preferences among currently married women in Kenya
Fertility preference is defined as desired family size, ideal number of children, and desire for additional children or fertility intentions. The measurements have been used to describe and/or estimate the number of children that people actually want to have. Fertility preferences are the indicators of general attitudes and possible future course of fertility. Also family planning approval is strongly dependent on fertility preferences. Measuring fertility intentions, and determining the extent to which they predict fertility behavior, is important for population policy and the implementation of family planning programs. Despite the various strategies and policies, Kenya’s total fertility rate still remains high at 4.6 while contraceptive prevalence rate is limited at 46 percent. The main objective of this study is to determine factors associated with fertility preference in Kenya. The dependent variable of this study is preferred waiting time to the next birth. The study utilized secondary data from the Kenya demographic health survey 2008-09 with a study population of 4236 currently married women of child bearing age (15-49). Descriptive statistics indicated that majority of the married women, preferred short birth intervals. Cross tabulation analysis found that preferred waiting time to the next birth is significantly associated with educational attainment, current working status, region, religion, current use of any contraceptive method, age group, number of living children and sex composition. Logistic regression results indicated that education, ethnicity, current use of any contraceptive method, age group and number of living children predict preferred birth interval. In conclusion this study found that education, ethnicity, current use of any contraceptive method, age group and number of living children have a significant impact on fertility intentions. From the study results it is evident that majority of the women prefer short birth intervals which highly contributes to large family sizes resulting to high fertility in Kenya. It is therefore recommended that concerted efforts be employed with regard to family planning programs targeting ethnic groups such as Kalenjins, Maasai and Somalis. Campaigns emphasizing on longer birth intervals should be popularized in Kenya. Further qualitative and quantitative research should be conducted to explore the social cultural and religious beliefs norms and attitudes of currently married women in Kenya with regard to family planning and preferred birth intervals. Additionally men’s status and approval of family planning and preferred birth intervals should also be researched further.