Patterns and differentials in nuptiality and fertility in Kenya
This thesis is a study of patterns and differentials in nuptiality and marital fertility in Kenya using data from the Kenya Fertility Survey undertaken in 1977/78 jointly by the Central Bureau of Statistics, Government of Kenya and the World Fertility Survey, London of the International Statistical Institute. Such a survey as this, like many others carried out by the World Fertility Survey in both developing and developed countries, has provided an unprecedented opportunity for greater understanding of the relationship between nuptiality and fertility on the one hand and nuptiality, fertility and socio-economic factors on the other. Such information is very crucial in the formulation and implementation of socio-economic and cultural development plans. The results of this study have confirmed that marriage is a universal and stable institution and that women marry young. Median age at marriage is 18,7 with education having the greatest influence on age at marriage as it provides alternative options to early marriage. However, polygamy is still widespread, accounting for about 30 per cent among all married women in the childbearing age range. Associated with this cultural phenomenon, most Kenyan women marry only once while men often marry women much younger than themselves and with either similar or lower level of education. The study has also confirmed that inspite of the recent rise in age at marriage especially among the young population during the last 15-20 years, corresponding to the expansion in education services and to increased urbanization, fertility remains one of the highest in the world. However, education and urbanization appear to have the greatest influence on fertility. Women with secondary and higher education experience the lowest fertility and women with lower primary education, the highest. Rural-urban differentials in fertility were found to be even more marked, with metro politan women having, on average, one child less than rural residents. This seems to be one of the few African countries south of the Sahara where there is convincing evidence of rural-urban differential in fertility in the expected direction. Polygamous women, too, were found to have lower fertility than their monogamous counterparts. The study of the proximate determinants of fertility (intermediate fertility variables) using Bongaarts model suggested that the proportion married among the population, level of use of contraception and postpartum infecundability (influenced by breastfeeding) are significant in explaining marital fertility differentials. Modernization in the form of education and urbanization has had offsetting effects upon the intermediate variables by reducing lactation and increasing contraception. However, the proportion using contraception (limited mainly among those with secondary and higher education and the metropolitan residents) is too small to have any significant impact on the overall level of fertility. The lower level of fertility observed particularly among the metropolitan, coast and Muslim categories of population may be accounted for by the prevalence of venereal diseases, unreported contraception and induced abortion.