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The Dynamics of Timing and Spacing of Births in Ghana
Source: Journal of Comparative family studies, 36(1): 41-60;
Topic(s): Birth interval
Country: Africa
Published: OCT 2005
Abstract: Studying the dynamics of timing and spacing of births is important for several reasons including an understanding of differentials in completed family size and childhood mortality. In this paper, we test whether there are intrinsic socio-cultural factors that affect the transition between successive births in Ghana. Using data from the 1998 Ghana Demographic and Health Survey, it was found that although the socio-cultural factors were mediated by socio-economic and demographic factors, there was the persistence of ethnic differences. For instance, at all durations, Ewe and Mole-Dagbani women were found to have longer birth intervals than Akan women. These differences have been explained through ethnic differences in norms and practices such as lineage patterns, duration of post-partum abstinence and amenorrhoea. Besides the socioeconomic and socio-cultural factors, other consistently significant covariates were the length of the preceding birth interval, age at first birth, birth cohorts and the survival status of the index child.