This paper examines the nature of the inverse association between age at first birth and fertility across successive generations of Ghanaian women. Within the context of enhanced non-marital opportunities for contemporary women and declining fertility, we develop a rationale for and test the hypothesis that in a medium fertility environment as currently found in Ghana, the effect of age at first birth on fertility becomes more important than ever before. Five birth cohorts were identified (1938–1944; 1945–1949;1950–1954; 1955–1959; 1960–1964)from a merged file of the 1988, 1993 and 1998 Ghana Demographic and Health Surveys. The analyses were restricted to women over 35 years old at the time of the surveys, which allowed us to use current parity as a reasonable proxy for completed fertility. Preliminary results suggest that women who had first births early tend to have a higher number of births than those whose first births occur late, regardless of birth cohort. In multivariate analyses, the effect of age at first birth as a determinant of fertility was found to be more substantial among later cohorts. The implications of the findings are discussed.
Population Research and Policy Review – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 17, 2004
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