PROXIMATE DETERMINANTS AND FERTILITY DIFFERENTIALS IN BENDEL STATE, NIGERIA
AbstractThe paper examines the contribution of proximate determinants to the understanding of rural-urban and ethnic fertility differentials in Bendel State of Nigeria. The Bongaarts model provides a framework for analyzing the relationships between fertility and its proximate determinants. The results of the analysis showed that durations of breastfeeding, amenorrhea and postpartum sexual abstinence are relatively short in Bendel State compared with some other ethnic groups in Nigeria. Higher education, urban residence and participation in modern sector employment are associated with shorter duration of breastfeeding, amenorrhea and postpartum sexual abstinence and greater use of contraception. Although the findings of the study suggest that the Bongaarts model will yield better results if applied to large samples, the analysis shows that differences in proximate determinants help to explain fertility differentials. Thus the near equality between fertility levels in urban and rural centres is arrived at through different combinations of proximate indices. Findings suggest the need for a vigorous family planning information programme to improve knowledge about the benefits of smaller families and practice of family planning.
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