Child-Timing Desires in a Low Fertility Context: A Cohort Analysis

Proceedings of ‏The 3rd International Conference on Modern Research in Social Sciences

Year: 2020


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Child-Timing Desires in a Low Fertility Context: A Cohort Analysis

Olusegun Sunday Ewemooje, Acheampong Yaw Amoateng, Elizabeth Biney



Globally, there have been significant changes in human reproductive behaviour that have had profound effects on population growth. The outstanding feature of this demographic transition is that it unevenly distributed as its tempo has differed across the globe. Regardless of the magnitude or speed of the decline, two main reasons have been associated with low fertility, namely, changes in the average number of children born to a woman throughout her reproductive period and the timing of this event in the life course. This was the context of the present study as it sought to understand the recent fertility transition in South Africa by understanding the factors that shape the child-timing desires of women who are married or cohabiting. Specifically, the study sought to examine and compare the effects of selected sociodemographic factors on the desired child-timing of two cohorts of reproductive-aged women in South Africa, 15–34 years (younger women) and 35–49 years (older women). The results showed that increased parity, contraceptive use and increased household size significantly predicted desired child-timing for both groups of women. The study also found that belonging to a ‘middle’ wealth index category, higher education and living in certain parts of the country significantly predicted child-timing desires for younger women but not older women. Implications for policy interventions were discussed.

Keywords: Age cohort, Child-timing, Fertility desire, South Africa, Women.