Role of conflict in shaping fertility preferences in Rwanda

  • Pierre Claver Rutayisire National University of Rwanda
  • Annelet Broekhuis Utrecht University, Utrecht
  • Pieter Hooimeijer Utrecht University, Utrecht


Conflicts affect the social and economic conditions that could account for the stall in fertility decline in Sub-Saharan Africa. For Rwanda, the total fertility rate decreased very rapidly to 6.1 in the eighties but stalled at that level in the nineties. Part of the stall can be attributed to a lack of fertility control, but the question is whether social upheaval also affects fertility preferences. We identify three mechanisms through which the Rwanda conflict have led to a preference for larger families: mortality experience, modernization and the attitudes of third parties.Using data from DHS, we tested the contribution of these mechanisms to the preference for small, medium or large families. With the exception of sibling mortality, there is a strong impact of these mechanisms on the preference for large families, yet they do not fully account for the shifts in preferences over the years.

Author Biographies

Pierre Claver Rutayisire, National University of Rwanda
Applied Statistics Department 
Annelet Broekhuis, Utrecht University, Utrecht
International Development Studies Department
Pieter Hooimeijer, Utrecht University, Utrecht
 Human Geography and Regional Planning Department