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Relationship between Religion and Unintended Childbearing in Nigeria: A Cross-Regional Perspective
Authors: Kola A. Oyediran, Gbenga Ishola, and Akinrinola Bankole
Source: Genus, Volume 76, Article number: 15; DOI:
Topic(s): Religion
Unintended pregnancy
Country: Africa
Published: JUL 2020
Abstract: Context: Childbearing remains a global public health issue, posing an enormous challenge to families, communities, governments, program managers, and researchers, especially in developing countries. Objective: The study examines the influence of religion on women’s experience of unintended childbearing in Nigeria. Method: Using the 2018 Demographic and Health Survey, the analysis focused on 13,109 women of reproductive age who had a birth within 2 years preceding the date of the interview. Multivariate logistic regression was used to examine the association between religion and unintended childbearing. Results: Nearly 13% of births in Nigeria over the last 2 years were unintended. The results showed that Muslims are less likely to experience unintended childbearing compared to Christians (Catholics as well as other Christians). In addition to religion having independent effects on unintended childbearing, the association between religion and unintended childbearing also depends on the region of residence. Muslims in the northern regions are less likely to have unintended births relative to Muslims in the southern regions. Conclusion: Policy and program interventions to address unintended childbearing should take into consideration the country’s religious diversity as well as regional sociocultural influences on reproductive preferences and behavior.