Ideal Family Size, Acceptability of Contraceptive Use and Social Network Processes

John Sandberg, George Washington University
Valérie Delaunay, Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD)
Steven Rytina, McGill University
Laetitia Douillot, Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD)
Simona Bignami, Université de Montréal

Interaction in social networks has long been theorized to be associated with fertility beliefs, intentions and behaviors. A relatively large body of research has empirically identified associations between social network characteristics and contraceptive use in the less developed world. Though theoretically central to demographic transition theory and potentially of critical importance in signaling nascent fertility declines in pre-transitional populations however, previous empirical social network research has largely neglected diffusion of ideational factors such as ideal family size and the acceptability of contraception. Using a unique, new source of extensive social network data collected in rural Senegal which addresses critical design issues inherent in conventional network data collection, in this paper we analyze associations between respondent’s beliefs concerning ideal family size and the legitimacy of contraceptive usage and characteristics of their community, neighborhood and network alters.

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 Presented in Session P9. Family Planning, Sexual Behavior, and Reproductive Health