Fertility levels and differentials in Ethiopia: with references to Mettu, Alemaya and Addis Ababa

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University of Dar es Salaam
In Ethiopia demographic data were of limited nature till the 1984 national population and housing census was undertaken. In the 1970 National Sample Survey second (NSS2) round basic data on population characteristics, fertility, mortality and migration were collected. The survey which was designed to provide estimates at national and regional levels resulted in fertility and mortality estimates that were high for some of the regions and low for others. For instance, the estimates were relatively high in Hararge but low in Illubabor region. The resulting estimates for Illubabor were so low that it was hard to accept as plausible level for a developing country like Ethiopia where health services are rudimentary and contraception is practiced rarely. Therefore, the main objective of the thesis is to determine fertility levels and differentials and thereby validate the earlier findings by undertaking a closely supervised study in three selected areas of the country. To this end, Mettu in Illubabor region, where fertility and mortality levels were low; Alemaya in Hararge region, where the levels were relatively high; and Addis Ababa (for the purpose of comparison) the capital city, where the levels were moderate, were selected. In the thesis the survey methodology is discussed; reported age and fertility data evaluated; fertility levels established; and fertility differentials determined among and within the study areas. Also a summary of the findings and its policy implications are given. The evaluation indicated that the fertility data were subjected to under-estimation, hence various demographic techniques were deployed to arrive at estimated fertility measures. The different fertility estimates derived were appraised. In Addis Ababa the level was determined on the basis of the estimates derived from reported and estimated infant mortality, whereas in Mettu and Alemaya it was based on estimates obtained from age distribution and child survival rates. The reported and estimated fertility measures showed that fertility level was relatively high in Alemaya and low in Mettu. These findings are consistent with the results of NSS2 round and that the study fulfilled one of its objectives, that is, establishing that fertility level is genuinely low in Mettu and high in Alemaya. The observed variations in the fertility levels among the study areas were attributed to the effect of the proximate determinants which influence fertility directly and to the cultural and socio-economic factors which affect fertility indirectly through the proximate determinants. Further, the relatively high fertility level in Alemaya was mainly attributed to high marital stability, high child mortality and low proportion of infertile and sub-fertile women aged 40-49. The nature of the study did not allow very detailed analysis of all aspects of fertility levels and differentials. Therefore, it is recommended that such a study be undertaken for Ethiopia.
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Fertility, Human, Population, Demography, Ethiopia
Hasen, A (1989) Fertility levels and differentials in Ethiopia: with references to Mettu, Alemaya and Addis Ababa, doctoral dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam. Available at ( )