Investigating a Mechanism in Which Education, Early Marriage, Decision-Making, and Gender-Role Attitudes Influence Fertility in Senegal: A Structural Equation Modeling Approach

Kyoko Shimamoto, University of California, Los Angeles

Fertility remains high in sub-Saharan Africa, despite the demographic transition observed and the decreasing unmet need for family planning in other regions. This study examines a mechanism in which women’s education, early marriage, decision-making, and gender-role attitudes influence fertility in Senegal. The 2010 Demographic and Health Survey in Senegal (weighted n=10,176) is used. Structural Equation Modeling is employed, and five equations are tested simultaneously in the model. The results show that women’s lower education is related to early marriage, and in turn to higher fertility – that is, early marriage is a significant mediator (b=-0.036). Yet none of the other empowerment measures is significantly related to fertility (p<0.05) in terms of direct and intervening effects. Early marriage is one of the most influential bottlenecks to achieve low fertility in Senegal, thus should be a focus of policy intervention. Future research should carefully assess the implication and influence of empowerment dimensions.

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 Presented in Session P3. Fertility Intentions and Behaviors