SocioEconomic determinants of fertility in Zambia: A count data model application
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Zambia faces high levels of fertility compared to other countries in the region. High levels of fertility have implications for social and economic development in any given country. High fertility can undermine the economic potential of women and is also associated with high maternal mortality. Information on fertility levels, patterns and trends experienced by a country is important for socio-economic planning, monitoring and evaluating programs. This study analyzes the socioeconomic determinants of fertility in Zambia. This is one of the few studies done on determinants of fertility in Zambia. No published study exists on Zambia. Specifically, the objectives of the research are to identify the major factors which determine fertility among women in Zambia by applying the Poisson regression model and to suggest appropriate policy measures. The dependent variable is a count variable denoting the number of Children Ever Born (CEB) to a spouse which takes on non negative integer values. Analysis of this study is based on the 2007 cross sectional data from the Zambian Demographic and Health Survey collected by the Central Statistical Office and Macro International Inc. The results indicate that wealth/income is negatively related with fertility. Education is negatively related to a woman’s fertility. The negative relationship is stronger, with a higher female’s educational attainment. Women in urban areas have a lower fertility level than women in rural areas. Findings indicate a negative relationship between fertility and female autonomy. Use of contraceptives is also found to be negatively related to fertility. Access to media has a negative effect on fertility. Finally, a female’s participation in the labor force is negatively related to her fertility. Improving the economic status of the women through increased education and labor force participation will help to reduce fertility. Policies that encourage female labor force participation should be implemented as a female’s employment status is an important determinant of fertility in Zambia. Programs need to be implemented to increase women’s autonomy in the fertility decision-making process. Urbanization equally plays a key role in reducing fertility. Furthermore, the promotion and the improvement of contraceptive methods should be constructed to focus more in helping the women achieve the desired level of fertility.