Marital Trajectories, Childbearing History, and Mid-Life Fertility Desires in Rural Mozambique

Victor Agadjanian , University of California, Los Angeles
Sarah R. Hayford, The Ohio State University
Sarah Smith, University of Kansas

The connection between marriage and childbearing is an axiom of family demography, but little is known about this connection at advanced stages of women’s reproductive careers in high-fertility low-income settings. We use data from a 12-year panel study of ever-married women in rural Mozambique to examine fertility desires as a reflection of marital and childbearing experiences. We differentiate three types of desires – desire to have a child soon, later, or not at all – and examine variations between married and unmarried women and within each of these categories. Among married women, we examine union order, formalization, polygyny status and husband’s labor migration; among the unmarried, we contrast widows and divorcees. Preliminary results point to complex interactions between current status and past experiences: although married women are in general more likely to want children than unmarried women, there is also substantial variation in desired timing within each of these categories.

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 Presented in Session 209. Fertility Intentions and Dynamics in Marriages and Families