Analysis of recent male nuptiality, sexual behaviour and fertility patterns in Tanzania and Zimbabwe
Traditionally, demographers have studied the determinants of nuptiality, sexual behaviour and fertility patterns from the perspective of women. The 1994 Cairo UN International Conference on Population and Development was an important turning point in demography. Since then, there have been efforts to understand the role of men in shaping nuptiality, sexual behaviour and fertility patterns and how men can be involved in population policies. This analysis of male nuptiality, sexual behaviour and fertility is based on data from the 1992 and 1996 Tanzania Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) and the 1994 Zimbabwe DHS. The aim was to investigate issues of male demography for these two countries. Methods of analysis included descriptive statistics, life table analysis, logistic and hazard regression models. Results show that most of the socio-economic characteristics are not very important determinants of male demography in these two countries. Age at marriage is higher than that of women but there is little evidence that age at marriage for men is rising. Polygamy remains popular in Tanzania, where the proportion of men in polygamous unions is more than twice that in Zimbabwe. However, intensity of polygamy is low, as the majority of polygamous men have only two wives. Age at first sex is earlier in Tanzania than in Zimbabwe and is falling in both countries, more so in Zimbabwe than in Tanzania. Fertility, measured in terms of the number of children ever born per man, is higher in Tanzania than in Zimbabwe. Then again, the differentials in the rate of childbearing did not widely vary once controls for marriage duration and type of union are made. The study makes recommendation for the improvement of the quality of demographic data collected from men. Questionnaires need to be more detailed by, for example, including questions on the timing of various unions that men might have. In the study of male fertility, there is also need for information from more than one partner that a man has had. Given the early initiation into sexual relations, the study recommends intervention policies such as early sex education and a wider campaign for safe sex given the large number of single men who have more than one sexual partner.