Volume 14 - Article 20 | Pages 485-508

The community-level effects of women's education on reproductive behaviour in rural Ghana

By Kofi D. Benefo

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Date received:25 Oct 2005
Date published:02 Jun 2006
Word count:6184
Keywords:community-level determinants of fertility, contraception, contraceptive use, education, fertility regulation, reproductive behavior, rural areas, women’s education


Using survey and census data for rural Ghana collected in the 1980s, this study examines the ability of women’s education to increase interest in fertility regulation and contraception among all women, regardless of their individual and household features. The study finds that, net of her own characteristics, a woman’s interest in limiting fertility and using modern contraception increase with the percent of educated women in her community.
These results suggest that female education has a greater capacity to introduce novel reproductive ideas and behaviors into rural areas of Africa and thereby transform the demographic landscape in the region than is currently believed. There is also evidence that female education may undermine existing methods of regulating fertility. Other community characteristics that increase women’s interest in regulating fertility and contraceptive use in this setting include access to transportation and proximity to urban areas. However, these are not as powerful as women’s education in transforming reproductive behavior.

Author's Affiliation

Kofi D. Benefo - City University of New York, United States of America [Email]

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