An analysis of fertility differentials in Liberia and Ghana using multilevel models
This thesis investigates differentials in the levels of fertility, nuptiality and contraceptive use in Liberia and Ghana, using data from the recent Demographic and Health Surveys in these countries. Of particular interest is the effect of the community in which a woman lives on her current and past fertility, her marital status and her use of contraception. This interest stems from the fact that, although the community in which a woman lives is integral to anthropological explanations of fertility, statistical models of fertility have rarely included an assessment of community effects. The method of analysis used is multilevel modelling. This involves fitting variables measured at the woman level, variables measured at the community level and also includes the use of random effects to assess the extent to which community effects have not been captured by the fixed explanatory variables. Multilevel log-linear models are used in the analyses of fertility and multilevel logistic models are used in the analyses of nuptiality and contraceptive use. This thesis demonstrates not only that there is significant variation between communities in both Liberia and Ghana for number of births 0-4 years before survey, children ever born, marital status and use of contraception but also that in each case significant community effects are found even after controlling for woman's age, education, religion and ethnicity.