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Latent Class Analysis of Reproductive Decision Making in Zambia

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AbstractCoale (1973) pointed out that a first step in the transition to modern contraceptive use involves making calculated choices with respect to fertility and use of contraception. As women become aware of the fertility choices, they are likely to actively seek information and become engaged in reproductive decision making. Research studies on the role of social network on contraceptive decision making in Zambia are few and far. The objective of this study is to examine women’s strategies and approaches to fertility decision making in Zambia. The sample is gathered from two poor income neighborhoods in Kitwe, Zambia. The sample consists of women from 163 households. Latent class analysis provides a useful technique for identifying the presence of distinct strategies with respect to birth control. Though several heterogeneous categories with respect to various reproductive strategies were expected, only two categories were identified. The first category (latent class) is composed of women who engage in spousal communication with respect to fertility, acquire information though seeking and receiving advices from close social relations on reproductive issues, and are aware of the high cost of raising children. Implications of our finding for family planning programs are discussed.

Affiliations: 1: University of Texas at Arlington Arlington, TX- 76011, Email:


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