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Religious Differences in Modernization of the Family: Family Demographics Trends in Ghana.
Authors: Heaton, Tim B.; Darkwah, Akosua
Source: Journal of Family Issues, Dec2011, Vol. 32 Issue 12, p1576-1596, 21p; DOI: 10.1177/0192513X11398951
Topic(s): Marriage
Reproductive health
Sexual behavior
Country: Africa
Published: NOV 2011
Abstract: Abstract: This research examines trends in a broad set of reproductive and marital behaviors in Ghana, focusing on religious group differences. These comparisons provide evidence of how family trends are constrained by religious identity in a less developed country. Three waves of the Ghana Demographic and Health Surveys are used to track trends in the age at family formation, marital status, contraceptive use, and family size. Results indicate that women are waiting longer to begin sexual relationships, to marry, and have children. At the same time, the frequency of informal unions, polygamy, and marital disruption show modest declines. Contraceptive use is increasing and family size is declining. Although religious group differences in these behaviors are substantial, some religious group differences appear to be widening over time, others are narrowing, and others remain relatively stable. Collectively, these measures provide evidence that family structure is being transformed in Ghana and that religion is an important context for family trends. [ABSTRACT FROM PUBLISHER]