Islam, Polygyny and Modern Contraceptive Use in Francophone sub-Saharan Africa

Margaret Farrell, Adeline Masquelier, Emily Tissot, Jane Bertrand


Francophone sub-Saharan African countries have among the highest fertility rates and lowest modern contraceptive prevalence rates worldwide. This analysis is intended to identify the factors driving contraceptive prevalence in this population.  In addition to testing the usual correlates, we have included three other variables potentially related to lower contraceptive use in the Francophone African context: being Muslim, being in a polygynous union, and participation in crucial decision-making processes. We obtained descriptive statistics for 11 Francophone African countries with DHS data collected since 2000 for relevant variables.  As expected, education, place of residence, age and number of children were significant for most countries in predicting modern contraceptive use.  The final three factors yielded inconclusive results. The conventional correlates were by far the most predictive of MCPR, although women’s participation deserves further analysis. These results dispel anecdotal evidence that being Muslim and in a polygynous union explain low CPR in this region.


Reproductive health; Demographic Health Surveys; Modern contraceptive use; Francophone sub-Saharan Africa; Islam

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ISSN 2308-7854 (online); ISSN 0850-5780 (print)

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