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Desired Fertility and Fertility Behaviour among the Yoruba of Nigeria: A Study of Couple Preferences and Subsequent Fertility

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This paper examines the effects of the fertility desires of marital partners on subsequent fertility. In particular, we attempt to identify the role played by disagreement between the spouses in predicting the couple's fertility outcome. The results indicate that when husband and wife disagree about whether or not they want another child, the fertility desires of both partners are equally important in determining whether the couple actually have an additional birth. The dominance of men in sub-Saharan African societies tends to operate in the present study only in the initial stages of a couple's reproductive lives (associated with four or fewer children). This tendency is offset by the stronger influence of the wife's desire in the later stages. Thus, we conclude that fertility research in sub-Saharan Africa should solicit information from men and women, and any programme or policy that aims to promote fertility decline in the region must involve both sexes.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Office of Population Research, Princeton University, 21, Prospect Avenue, Princeton N.J., USA

Publication date: July 1, 1995

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