The Proximate Determinants of Fertility in Eswatini

Garikayi B. Chemhaka, Clifford O. Odimegwu


Accelerating downwards the fertility rate remains a priority issue for developmental planning of any country. Fertility transition for most African countries has been slow since attaining their independence. In a  period of almost four decades Eswatini experienced high fertility above replacement level fertility of 2.1; total fertility rate has declined from 6 to 4 children per woman from 1968 to 2007. This paper examines the impact of each proximate factor (contraception, postpartum infecundability, abortion and sexual activity) on fertility. Using the cross-sectional data from the 2006-7 Eswatini Demographic and Health Survey (DHS), the revised Bongaarts proximate determinants model of fertility was applied at national level and the analysis was extended to observe educational variation among women aged 15-49. The analysis showed that contraception had the greatest impact of fertility reduction, then sexual activity, postpartum infecundability and induced abortion. Women‘s educational level had huge negative influence on fertility and positive implication on reproductive choice of using contraception, delaying sexual activity/marriage and childbearing. The results guide on selection of potential social variables amenable to policy aimed at improving women‘s reproductive behaviour in Eswatini through better educational attainment. (Afr J Reprod Health 2019;

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