Volume 8 - Article 3 | Pages 61-92

Bayesian spatial analysis of demographic survey data: An application to contraceptive use at first sexual intercourse

By Riccardo Borgoni, Francesco Billari

Print this page  Twitter


Date received:14 Jan 2002
Date published:11 Feb 2003
Word count:5983
Keywords:contraceptive use, FFS, hierarchical Bayesian modeling, Italy, Monte Carlo Markov Chain, multilevel statistical models, spatial statistical demography


In this paper we analyze the spatial patterns of the risk of unprotected sexual intercourse for Italian women during their initial experience with sexual intercourse. We rely on geo-referenced survey data from the Italian Fertility and Family Survey, and we use a Bayesian approach relying on weakly informative prior distributions. Our analyses are based on a logistic regression model with a multilevel structure. The spatial pattern uses an intrinsic Gaussian conditional autoregressive (CAR) error component. The complexity of such a model is best handled within a Bayesian framework, and statistical inference is carried out using Markov Chain Monte Carlo simulation.
In contrast with previous analyses based on multilevel model, our approach avoids the restrictive assumption of independence between area effects. This model allows us to borrow strength from neighbors in order to obtain estimates for areas that may, on their own, have inadequate sample sizes. We show that substantial geographical variation exists within Italy (Southern Italy has higher risks of unprotected first-time sexual intercourse). The findings are robust with respect to the specification of the prior distribution. We argue that spatial analysis can give useful insights on unmet reproductive health needs.

Author's Affiliation

Riccardo Borgoni - University of Southampton, United Kingdom [Email]
Francesco Billari - Bocconi University, Milan, Italy [Email]

Other articles by the same author/authors in Demographic Research

» MAPLES: A general method for the estimation of age profiles from standard demographic surveys (with an application to fertility)
Volume 24 - Article 29

» Women´s wages and childbearing decisions: Evidence from Italy
Volume 22 - Article 19

» Generations and Gender Survey (GGS): Towards a Better Understanding of Relationships and Processes in the Life Course
Volume 17 - Article 14

» The "Wedding-Ring": An agent-based marriage model based on social interaction
Volume 17 - Article 3

» Political Economy and Life Course Patterns: The Heterogeneity of Occupational, Family and Household Trajectories of Young Spaniards
Volume 6 - Article 8

» Becoming an Adult in Europe: A Macro(/Micro)-Demographic Perspective
Special Collection 3 - Article 2

Most recent similar articles in Demographic Research

» The educational integration of second generation southern Italian migrants to the north
Volume 33 - Article 39    | Keywords: Italy

» Ideation and intention to use contraceptives in Kenya and Nigeria
Volume 33 - Article 8    | Keywords: contraceptive use

» Engendering the fertility-migration nexus: The role of women's migratory patterns in the analysis of fertility after migration
Volume 32 - Article 53    | Keywords: Italy

» Religion and union formation in Italy: Catholic precepts, social pressure, and tradition
Volume 31 - Article 35    | Keywords: Italy

» Fertility transition and social stratification in the town of Alghero, Sardinia (1866-1935)
Volume 30 - Article 28    | Keywords: Italy