Dynamics of Reproductive Behaviour in Rural Coastal Communities of Southern Ghana

Seminar date: 
07 October 2008
Speaker(s): Akinyinka Akinyoade (African Studies Centre)

Akinyinka Akinyoade's research activities are on population health and development, with special attention on fertility dynamics in West Africa. He has other research interests on national education policies and anti-corruption training programmes in sub-Sahara Africa and south-east Asia.

The aim of the study was to identify and understand historical and current factors facilitating and/or constraining changes in fertility behaviour today among inhabitants of Abuesi and Brenu Akyinim, in the general context of fertility decline observed in Ghana in the 1990s. Using Greenhalgh (1995) Culture and Political Economy of Reproduction approach, transition in childbearing behaviour among inhabitants of these two rural coastal communities was gauged by examining changes in the following area of peoples' lives: fertility preferences, costs and benefits of childbearing, birth timing and marital characteristics. Decline in childbearing was traceable in part to an increase in age at marriage; contradictions were discovered in couples' family size desires; birth intervals vary depending on birth-order, and decisions on birth timing was found to be partly influenced by women's need to have some form of financial and social stability (guided by aesthetic reasons).