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Ethnicity and fertility desires in Ghana
Authors: Nana Ohene Akonor and Adriana A. E. Biney
Source: Journal of Population Research, Volume 38; DOI:
Topic(s): Ethnicity
Fertility preferences
Country: Africa
Published: JUN 2021
Abstract: The extant literature shows that fertility desires are an important indicator for understanding and predicting the future course of fertility; however, little work has been done on its relationship to ethnicity among women in Ghana. Therefore, this study investigates the relationship between ethnicity and fertility desires among two groups of parous women in Ghana. Using 2014 Ghana Demographic and Health Survey data, analyses were conducted with 5548 women between ages 15 and 49 years. Respondents were divided into two groups: 1) women with 1–3 living children (n = 3437), and 2) women with 4 or more children (n = 2111), representing those with children below and above the wanted fertility rate, respectively. Descriptive analyses indicated that 77.5% of women in the lower parity group desired an additional child, whereas 23.6% of women in the higher parity group had the same desires. Binary logistic regression results showed that ethnicity was a significant predictor of fertility desires among the two groups of women. Additionally, ethnicity remained significant when socio-economic factors were controlled for. The study’s findings refute the characteristics hypothesis, signifying that even though certain ethnic groups are assimilated into more modern socio-economic structures, they still maintain their pronatalistic beliefs. More specifically, Mole-Dagbani and "Other" women, who already have a high parity, are more likely to want an additional child. Further qualitative work is required to understand the norms, customs, practices, and beliefs that govern the major Ghanaian ethnic groups regarding their fertility desires and behaviour.