Fertility Levels in Ghana: The Role of Socioeconomic Inequalities




Nyarko, Samuel Harrenson

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Despite the steady global decline in fertility rates during the past few decades, the pace of decline in fertility rates in sub-Saharan Africa, including Ghana, appeared to have slowed down or stalled. This dissertation examined the socioeconomic determinants of fertility levels in Ghana. Drawing on data from the 2003, 2008, and 2014 Ghana Demographic and Health Survey, negative binomial and logistic regression models were used to estimate individual-level factors influencing three fertility outcomes – total fertility, nonmarital fertility, and adolescent fertility – in Ghana. This is guided by a conceptual framework adapted from Bongaarts’ (1978) proximate determinants of fertility framework. The main findings indicate that women’s socio-economic characteristics play a considerable role in their fertility levels. Thus, uneducated women, women from a poor household, working women, and self-employed women have significantly higher total fertility levels, nonmarital childbirth, and adolescent childbearing. The findings also show some demographic characteristics such as current age, age at sexual debut, marital status, the desired number of children, and unmet need for contraception, among others, as the important factors explaining the fertility levels in Ghana. This research has strongly underscored the need to address the high fertility levels in Ghana by significantly improving socioeconomic inequalities in the country.


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Fertility rates, Sub-Saharan Africa, Ghana, Socioeconomic determinants