Publications Summary

Document Type
Analytical Studies
Recommended Citation
Westoff, Charles F., and Anne R. Cross. 2006. The Stall in the Fertility Transition in Kenya. DHS Analytical Studies No. 9. Calverton, Maryland, USA: ORC Macro.
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Publication Date
April 2006
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A stall occurred in the decline of fertility in Kenya between 1998 and 2003. The fertility rate had been declining and contraceptive prevalence had been increasing for a quarter of a century. This unexpected interruption of an established trend is the focus of this inquiry. The stall or reversal of the fertility decline is seen throughout the country but is particularly evident among the least educated women. The stall in contraceptive prevalence is seen mainly among younger women and among those with less education. The use of oral contraceptives, the IUD, and sterilization declined over the preceding decade while the use of injectables increased. A finding of particular interest is that while use of contraception among all women remained constant between 1998 and 2003, the expected increase did occur among sexually active women, regardless of marital status. Another factor underlying the stall in the increase in contraceptive prevalence and the decrease in fertility is the observed decline in the proportion of women who want no more children, a marked departure from the steady increase in this variable since 1977. A similar change is seen among men. Although the analysis has identified the demographic dynamics of the stall in the fertility transition in Kenya, a full explanation is lacking. Shortages of contraceptive supplies have probably played some role but this does not explain the increase in the proportion of women who want more children.


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