The Effect of Food Insecurity on Fertility Preferences in Tanzania

Kira DiClemente , Brown University
Kathryn Grace, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
Trace Kershaw, Yale University
Debbie Humphries, Yale University

Recent research has identified fertility preferences as a “moving target,” sensitive to dynamic multi-level factors in a woman’s life. Qualitative research has explored the effect that food insecurity and resource constraints have on fertility preferences, revealing conflicting evidence. This study quantitatively analyzes the effects of food insecurity on fertility preferences in Tanzania. Using data from Tanzania DHS 2016, we model fertility preferences on the individual woman level as a function of two measures of food insecurity: perceptions of household hunger and anthropomorphic indicators of chronic food deprivation. Multinomial generalized logit models reveal that 1) household hunger is associated with a decreased likelihood of wanting more children, and 2) having one or more child under the age of five experiencing stunting is associated with a decreased likelihood of wanting more children; however, once the number of living children is controlled for, the direction of effect is reversed.

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 Presented in Session 1. Fertility, Family Planning, Sexual Behavior, & Reproductive Health 1