Sociodemographic factors underlying lifetime fertility among evermarried Swazi women

Garikayi B. Chemhaka, Stanzia Moyo, Maswati S. Simelane


Fertility rates remain high in certain subgroups of the population, and there is limited research about the sociodemographic factors influencing fertility, particularly in Eswatini where women are often considered minors. This study aims to investigate the changes in lifetime fertility, and the associations between sociodemographic factors and lifetime fertility among ever-married women. The study used secondary cross-sectional data from the 2010 and 2014 Eswatini Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS), with a sample size of 2,295 and 2,351 women, respectively. The data was analysed using descriptive statistics and multivariable Poisson regression. The results showed that fertility rates decreased from 3.47 to 3.21 children between 2010 and 2014. The study found that child loss and age (25+ years) were significant factors associated with higher fertility, while delayed age at marriage and sexual debut (20+ years), at least secondary education, and being rich were strong predictors of lower fertility rates. The study recommends creating awareness about and strengthening laws to abolish early sexual debut and marriage. It also suggests empowering women through education, encouraging the use of contraceptives, and providing maternal and child health services in rural areas where fertility rates tend to be higher. (Afr J Reprod Health 2024; 28 [3]: 38-49).

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