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Choice of desired family size among young women in Zambia: what matters?
Authors: Million Phiri, Liness Shasha, Emmanuel Musonda, Mikidadi Muhanga, and Musonda Lemba
Source: Journal of Population Research, Volume 40, Article 18; DOI:
Topic(s): Education
Family planning
Reproductive health
Women's health
Country: Africa
Published: JUL 2023
Abstract: In many developing countries, population expansion and high fertility rates have been of concern to individuals, society, and governments. Zambia is one of the countries in sub-Saharan Africa, which has been experiencing high fertility for more than four decades since it attained independence. Understanding of factors associated with desired family size, especially amongst young women, is important because their future reproductive behaviour has the potential to influence the country’s course of fertility. Therefore, this study was conducted to examine the determinants of family size choice among young women in Zambia. The study analysed data extracted from repeated cross-sectional surveys conducted in 2007, 2013 and 2018. The analysis was done on a pooled weighted sample of 15,528 young women aged 15–24 years. Multivariate logistic regression was used to examine factors associated with the desired family size of young women. All analyses were conducted using Stata software version 17 and considered complex survey design. The prevalence of young women who had the desire of at least 4 children has been considerably high in Zambia, at 63.2%. Young women in the age group 20–24 were found to have higher odds (AOR?=?1.31; 95% CI: 1.03, 1.66) of desiring at least 4 children compared to those aged 15–19. Women living in the rural areas were (AOR?=?1.41; 95% CI: 1.10, 1.79) more likely to desire at least 4 children compared to their counterparts living in urban areas. Age of a young woman, place of residence, level of education, household wealth status, number of living children, and exposure to mass-media family planning messages were significantly associated with desire of at least 4 children. The desire for a large family size remains a social concern for reducing fertility in Zambia. This is because the proportion of young women who desire a large family size has been consistently high. Increasing access to education and sexual reproductive health information to young women especially to those in rural areas is key to changing their reproductive behaviour.