Intra-Rural Fertility Determinants in Zimbabwe: A Path Analysis
Gwebu, Thando D.
Studies on spatial fertility differentials in sub-Sahara Africa normally treat the rural sector as a single and uniform geographical entity. This approach, unfortunately, tends to mask differences, which may exist between components of the rural sub-sectors. This empirical study, based on both quantitative analyses and participatory methodologies, has stratified one rural district in south-western Zimbabwe, into communal lands and resettlement schemes, in order to investigate the fertility differentials at intra-rural levels. The working hypothesis is that because the respective rural sub-areas differ in their levels of socioeconomic development, the relative impacts of the determinants of fertility should reflect these differences. Data on fertility patterns and their correlates were extracted from 1,542 married mothers, within the ages of 15-49, in the rural district. 832 of these were from the resettlement areas and 710 were selected from communal lands. Results from a descriptive bivariate model confirmed that resettlement areas have higher fertility than the communal lands. The present study utilizes path analysis, which is considered appropriate for investigating the direct and indirect causes of fertility differentials. It is shown that direct and indirect effects on fertility do not always operate uniformly between the two rural sub-sectors. On the basis of the findings, conclusions and recommendations are drawn.