Linking Fertility Preferences and Unintended Birth Outcomes to Fertility Stalls in Kenya, Namibia, and Zimbabwe

David A. Sánchez Páez , Université Catholique de Louvain
Bruno D. Schoumaker, Universite catholique de Louvain (UCL)

Many studies have focused on identifying the fertility stalls in sub-Saharan Africa but fewer on the reasons that led to them. Moreover, this latter kind of studies finds mixed evidence from which it is difficult to draw conclusions. Some research shows that a meaningful decline in fertility in sub-Saharan Africa will only come if a reduction in unwanted fertility accompanies the desire to have fewer children. Nevertheless, there is no study linking the effect of unintended fertility on fertility stalls. We use the information of 53,551 births in the 36 months before the survey from 14 DHS surveys from Kenya, Namibia, and Zimbabwe. Our goal is to analyze whether the number of desired children and unintended fertility has contributed to fertility stalls. We propose scenarios for these variables to measure their effect on the increments of TFR. In Kenya, increases in the demand for children have accompanied periods of fertility stalls. Nambia presents more unplanned births at the same time as the fertility stagnation. In Zimbabwe, rises of unmet need for family planning and the demand for children help to explain the stalls. Women wanting bigger families are less likely to declare a pregnancy as mistimed or unwanted. Pregnancies after contraceptive failure are more likely to be unintended. The distribution of unplanned and unwanted pregnancies varies by age.

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 Presented in Session 130. Fertility over Time and Space