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Genus. 1993 Jul-Dec;49(3-4):87-100.

Maternal education and marital fertility in four African countries.



World fertility data were used for Cote d'Ivoire, Cameroon, Ghana, and Nigeria. Estimates of marital fertility and its proportional reduction owing to the proximate determinants were computed using Fertility Exposure Analysis (FEA). Eight exposure states were identified in an interval of 3 years before the survey. Proximate determinants were estimated from an equation for subsequent regression analysis, which also included socioeconomic variables, e.g., place of residence, religion, work pattern, and husband's education. Except for the 25-29 age group in Cameroon and Cote d'Ivoire and the 15-19 age group in Cote d'Ivoire, age specific marital fertility was higher for women who had between 4 and 6 years of formal education than for those who had 7 or more years of schooling. Marital age specific fertility was higher for women who had 4-6 years of education than for uneducated women, except from the 2 oldest age groups in Cote d'Ivoire and the oldest age groups in Ghana. On the other hand, lower fertility also existed in poorly educated women in Cameroon, in the 15-19 age group in Cote d'Ivoire and Ghana, and also in 20-24 and 30-34 age groups in Nigeria. Women with no education had lower fertility than those with 1-3 years and 4-6 years of education. Breastfeeding made the greatest contribution to the reduction of marital fertility for the educational categories except for the most educated women in Cote d'Ivoire. Contraception had a weak effect on fertility in Nigeria and Cameroon but a strong effect in Cote d'Ivoire and Ghana. Postpartum abstinence had a small effect since the 1970s except in Nigeria where it depressed marital fertility by over 10%. In these 4 countries differences existed in the patterns of educational differentials in fertility-reducing impacts of the proximate determinants. The impact of maternal education on marital fertility is not uniformly predictable in all African countries.

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