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African Population Studies
Union for African Population Studies
ISSN: 0850-5780
Vol. 17, Num. 2, 2002, pp. 61-80

African Population Studies, Vol. 17, No. 2, 2002, pp. 61-80

Husband-Wife Communication and Couple’s Fertility Desires among the Yoruba of Nigeria[1]

Kolawole Azeez Oyediran,  U. C. Isiugo-Abanihe

*Programme Officer, Centre for Development and Population Activities (CEDPA), Lagos, Nigeria,
**Professor of Demography, Department of Sociology, University of Ibadan, Nigeria

Code Number: ep02010

Abstract

The study examines the effect of husband-wife communication about fertility and family planning on fertility desires among marital dyads in the Yoruba towns of Ogbomoso and Iseyin, in Oyo State, Nigeria.  About 66% of the couples have discussed contraceptive use, and 59% have discussed number of children. This is a fairly high level of spousal communication on family life issues, which is an important precondition for a sustainable decline in fertility. A high level of spousal agreement on fertility intention is also evident from 87% of pairs of partners who reported similar fertility preferences. However, only about 28% agreed that they did not want any more children. Of all the variables considered, spousal communication about family planning, age of husbands and wives, current family size, education of couples and their level of exposure to the media have consistent and significant effect on not wanting more children. The study notes that spousal communication on family planning is an important precursor to fertility decline in Yorubaland, and underscores the need for more research on the motivation and modes of such discussion as fertility transition gets underway in Nigeria.

Résumé

Cette étude examine l'effet de la communication entre conjoint et conjointe sur la fécondité et le planning familial par rapport aux souhaits en matière de fécondité au sein des époux et épouses des villes Yoruba de Ogbomoso et Iseyin dans l'Etat d'Oyo au Nigeria. Soixante six pour cent des couples ont communiqué sur l'utilisation des contraceptifs et 59 % sur le nombre d'enfants. Ce taux de communication entre époux et épouse est plutôt élevé, ce qui constitue un préalable important pour une baisse durable de la fécondité. Un taux d'accord entre les époux plutôt élevé sur les souhaits en matière de fécondité est attesté par 87 % des couples qui ont fait état de similitude de préférence en matière de fécondité. Par contre, seuls 28 % ont dit qu'ils ne voulaient plus d'enfants. Parmi toutes les variables prises en compte, la communication entre époux sur le planning familial, l'âge des époux et des épouses, la taille actuelle de la famille, le niveau d'éducation du couple et celui de leur exposition aux média ont des effets constants et significatifs sur le fait de ne pas vouloir avoir plus d'enfants. L'étude montre que la communication entre époux sur le planning familial est un préalable déterminant de la baisse de la fécondité chez les Yorubas et rend nécessaire plus de recherche sur les motivations et les modalités de telles discussions au moment où le Nigeria entre dans sa phase de transition de la fécondité.

Introduction

Obviously there is some degree of inadequacy of research to date to answer some important questions about Yoruba fertility, specifically the contribution of inter-spousal communication.  Although some fertility decline has begun, high fertility and low contraceptive use continue to characterize the Yoruba-speaking people of South-western Nigeria, as well as other ethnic groups in Nigeria. This has been a major concern to planners, researchers and policy makers in most sub-Saharan countries due to the negative impact of high population growth on socio-economic development.

Most African societies are patriarchal, with family structures in which husbands exert authority over their wives on most issues (Kritz and Gurak, 1991; Isiugo-Abanihe, 1994; Oyediran, et al., 2002). Men and their kinsmen are the decision-makers on issues relating to reproductive health, while their women are expected to remain submissive. In this society, women hardly have a say on matters relating to the timing of the next birth, the number of children and when to stop childbearing except among a relatively small emergent highly educated career women. Because the views of women who bear the burden of pregnancy and child-birth are hardly sought in traditional societies, the number of children a woman bears is perceived to most often reflect the desired fertility of her husband and his relatives (Caldwell and Caldwell, 1987).  Yet, traditionally, fertility and family planning research and programmes have focused on women’s behaviours. 

Gender differences in fertility desires have been attributed to the relative position of men and women in the male dominated cultures (Coombs and Chang, 1981; Koenig, et al., 1984; Mitra, et al., 1985; Mason and Taj, 1987), and might be reduced through effective spousal communication on fertility expectations of individuals in marital dyad. There has recently been a revival of interest in the relative roles played by men and women in reproductive decisions, particularly those concerning number of children and fertility regulation (Mott and Mott, 1985; Ezeh, 1993; Dodoo, 1993; Bankole, 1995; Bankole and Singh, 1998; Feyisetan, et al., 1998; Odusola, et al., 1998; Zulu, 1998).  The studies provide an opportunity for examining gender differences in reproductive behaviour and fertility preferences, and an understanding of the husband’s influence in decision-making regarding family size and contraceptive use.  In male dominated societies like the Yoruba, women are not supposed to take independent decisions on reproductive issues. However, because of the relative decline in men’s resources and women’s increasing contribution to family resources in recent times, female participation in decision-making, including reproductive health matters, has changed among Yoruba women (Feyisetan, 2000).

Thus in transitional Yoruba society, the fertility desires within the marital dyad may have become an important predictor of the couple’s fertility behaviour.  For instance, Bankole (1995) observed that a husband’s desire is dominant in predicting the couple’s behaviour when the number of living children is small, while the wife’s desire becomes dominant as the number of children increases. This implies that the pattern and level of interaction between husband and wife has become an important factor to examine despite the differences in reproductive goal of the marital partners. In addition, it is evident that fertility related decision-making is complex particularly in the Yoruba society. Therefore, current efforts in demographic and health surveys should be geared toward the use of husband-wife dyad (marital partners) rather than individuals as a unit of analysis.

Since marital fertility involves participation of the wife and husband who may differ in their reproductive goals (in terms of number and sex composition of children, timing of having the children), successful planning and decision-making about fertility size and use of contraceptives require effective communication of both marital partners (Marsiglio and Menaphan, 1987; Nyblade and Menken, 1993; Gage, 1995; Feyisetan, 2000; Oyediran, 2002).  Hence, the pattern and processes of a couple’s communication can undoubtedly have major consequences for number of children, timing of birth and contraceptive adoption. Thus, communication between marital partners becomes the first step in a rational fertility decision-making procedure. Consequently, in seeking to understand the determinants of fertility behaviour in complex societies, such as the Yoruba, scholars are increasingly turning their attention to the micro environment within which women and couples live, based on the premise that those contexts set norms that guide fertility behaviour (Entwisle, et al., 1986; Smith, 1989).  Interaction between marital partners is of great interest because several studies have observed that fertility and contraceptive use vary considerably between couples who reported discussion relative to those who did not. The present article is, therefore, concerned with providing some plausible explanations on the relation between husband-wife interaction and couples’ fertility desires among the Yoruba, for whom some incipient fertility decline has set in.

Methodology

This study was conducted in Ogbomoso and Iseyin towns of Oyo State, one of the southwestern States of Nigeria predominantly inhabited by the Yoruba.  Ogbomoso is the second and Iseyin the fifth largest towns in Oyo State, with Ibadan, the state capital, as the largest (National Population Commission, 1991). According to the 1991 census, the population of Ogbomoso metropolis was 157,222, while that of Iseyin stood at 79,838.  Ogbomoso is a major commercial center along the highway that goes from Lagos through Ibadan to Northern Nigeria.  The famous Baptist seminary is in the city, along with many educational institutions, including a University. As a medium size urban center, Iseyin has a combination of commercial and agricultural activities, with a large Muslim population. The two cities, therefore, present similarities and contrasts, which may help to elucidate the subject matter of the study.

The study was undertaken among married women aged 15-49 years, and their husbands irrespective of their age.  Data were collected through household-based structured interviews and focus group discussions.  With respect to the household-based survey, household and individual schedules were used.  Besides providing information on household structure and characteristics of members, the household schedule was also used to identify the primary and secondary respondents to whom the individual schedules were administered. Using the individual schedule, each primary or secondary respondent was asked to provide information on his/her background, marriage and reproduction, communication on reproductive issues, and contraceptive knowledge and use.

A multi-stage probability sampling procedure was adopted to select respondents for the survey, using the enumeration maps prepared by the National Population Commission for the 1991 census.  Each study town was stratified into three clusters based on the residential patterns that reflect the socio-economic status of the residents at the first stage. The clusters were elite, transitional and traditional. The elite cluster comprises modern part of the cities with detached housing units occupied by single families with relatively high income and better education.  The transitional area is the home of a mixed group of workers, traders and artisans, most of whom reside in rented apartments or share houses with other tenants. The traditional cluster represents the indigenous areas, where people or families of the same lineage reside together in a compound, a group of houses or in a single house. In each cluster, supervisory areas (SAs) were randomly selected at the second stage, and enumeration areas were selected within the SAs at the third stage.  Households were systematically selected within each EA.  One currently married man and his wife or wives aged 15-49 years were interviewed in each selected household.  A total of 749 husbands and 788 wives were interviewed, which yielded a total of 763 married couples who provided information on all variables of interest.

Bivariate and multivariate analyses were employed to assess the association between background variables and measures of spousal communication and fertility behaviour (that is contraceptive use and fertility desires). Bivariate analyses were used to identify patterns of association and levels of significance of such associations. Logistic regression models were used to determine the net impact of background variables on the probability that a couple would report joint communication, current use of modern methods or not wanting more children. Spousal communication is perceived to exist if both partners reported that the two of them usually discuss and take decisions on reproductive issues. The wife’s perception of joint decision is, however, important since it reflects her perception of the amount of control she has over issues affecting her.  For men to report that they take joint decisions with their wives indicates a departure from the traditional attitudes about the roles of wives in the family. The two reproductive issues examined in this study were spousal communication on the number of children to have and the use of family planning. 

Results

Profile of Respondents

Table 1 shows the basic individual characteristics of husbands and wives. The mean age of the husbands at the time of interview is 40 years, whereas the mean age of their wives is 33.4 years. The age pattern reflects the general tendency for men in the study society to marry women who are younger.  The second panel of the Table reveals a fairly high level of education among both husbands and wives (particularly when compared with the national level), though husbands generally have higher levels of education than their wives. The relatively high levels of educational attainment by both men and women in the study area could be attributable to the free universal primary and free secondary educational policy which has existed in the state for several decades.  Christians constitute an overwhelming majority of the respondents, and husbands and their wives do not differ markedly in their religious composition.  A large percentage of husbands and wives are exposed to electronic media, especially the radio. The frequency of exposure to media indicates that husbands generally listened to radio more than their spouses and also watched television more. About 88% of the husbands belong to associations compared with 76.7% of wives.

A more detailed comparison of age, education, religion, media exposure and social network within the marital dyad is presented in Table 2. Spousal differences on these socio-demographic characteristics are important issues to be considered in the analysis of spousal communication and fertility preference among the Yoruba. The Table indicates that approximately 60% of women are 5 or more years younger than their husbands. This is the expected pattern and implies that, being younger, wives are expected to show some deference to their husbands.  The data on education in Table 2 confirm that husbands are generally better educated than their wives. By comparing reported levels of educational attainment, the data show that 9.2% of husbands have lower levels of education than their wives and 27.5% of wives have lower levels of education than their husbands. Among almost two-fifths of couples, both partners have primary or no education. The study reveals that in almost 29% of the couples, the religious orientation of husband and wife is different. More than 72% of the couples reported membership of social clubs or associations, and about 30% and 8% both reported listening to radio and watching television respectively.

Husband-Wife Communication

Table 3 shows the relationship between selected individual and shared characteristics of husbands and wives and spousal communication variables (about number of children and family planning). The study reveals that 59% of the couples have discussed number of children, and 66% of the couples have discussed contraceptive use. Husband-wife communication on family size desire and contraceptive use is related to the demographic and social background characteristics of the individuals and couples as displayed in the Table. Discussion on family planning and family size is more prevalent among couples with younger spouses and where both marital partners are of the same age cohort. The study reveals that there is a marked difference in the level of spousal communication on family size and family planning by the study town. For instance, 49% of couples in Iseyin reported spousal communication on family size desire and 51.7% on contraceptive use. The corresponding percentages for Ogbomoso are 65.8 for family size desire and 76.2% for contraceptive use. There are large differences in spousal communication about fertility desire and family planning by individual or couples’ educational status. The study also shows greater prevalence of husband-wife discussion about family life issues among couples where both partners are exposed to radio or television relative to those who are not.

Fertility Intentions

Our analysis indicates that 87% of the couples reported similar fertility intentions. Of these couples, 59.5% wanted more children while only 27.8% reported wanting no more children.  With kappa statistic of 0.72, the finding suggests a fairly high level of agreement between partners’ in their fertility intention. The higher proportion of the couples that desire a large family is consistent with earlier studies (Noumbissi and Sanderson, 1998, Oyediran, 2002, Odusola, et al., 1998).  

Tables 4 and 5 show percentages of couple by their fertility intention according to selected background variables: study town, age, education, religion, type of union, place of residence, spousal communication, media exposure, spousal age difference, shared couple characteristics (education, religion).

Table 4 indicates that age is negatively related with preference for additional children. The proportion of couples that wants to have more children is higher among couples where husbands and wives are younger.  For instance, among couples where husbands are below 35, 92% want more children and among those who are 45 years and above, 27,6% want more children. As shown in Table 4, individual education of partners has an inverted asymmetric U-shaped relationship with fertility intention. The finding implies that couples at the lowest and highest levels of education are least likely to want more children than those with secondary education.  For example, 76% of husbands with secondary education, and 69% of wives with the same level of education reported that both they and their spouses wanted more children relative to 50.5% of husbands and 50.4% of wives with no formal education.

The Table also shows that couples’ fertility intention is influenced by religious affiliation.  While couples who are Christians are most likely to want to end childbearing, Muslims and adherents of traditional religion would want to have more children. For instance, among couples interviewed where husbands and wives are Christians, respectively 53.2% and 55.3% wanted additional children as against 65.0% and 68.7% where husbands and wives are Muslims. There is no difference in the level of couples’ agreement on fertility intention with regard to the type of union.  For example, about 87.2% of couples in monogamous union are in agreement about their fertility intention compared with 88.9% among those polygynous marriages. However, the proportion of couples that wants more children is higher among couples in polygynous union (71.4%) than monogamous ones (58.4%). Conversely, the proportion that wants to stop childbearing is 28.8% among those in monogamous unions and 17.5% among those in the polygynous homes.  

The Table further reveals that couples’ fertility intention differs somewhat by husband-wife interaction.  About 59% of couples where both partners discussed number of children want more children as compared with 61.0% among couples that have had no discussion about the number of children to have; however, the difference is not statistically significant.   Table 4 further reveals that couples’ fertility intention varies according to their media exposure status. Couples where both partners listen to radio regularly in the past three months are more likely to desire to end childbearing relative to those where one and none listens to radio.  About 34.2% of the couples where both partners reported regular exposure to radio message want to end childbearing compared with 24.3% among those where only one partner listened to radio. These findings support the conventional belief that exposure to media message encourages changes in reproductive health behaviour such as marital interaction on family planning and preference for less number of children.  Regular exposure to television also seems to have the expected effect on fertility intentions; 35% of couples where either one or both regularly watch television desire to stop childbearing compared to 25% of those who seldom watch television.

The results in Table 5 indicate that joint partner-characteristics of couples are associated with fertility intentions. Shared characteristics like joint education, religious affiliation, spousal age difference and media exposure are identified as key joint couples background factors determining partners’ fertility intentions. It is observed that joint education of couples has an inverted U-shaped association with couples’ fertility desires. For instance, where both partners have primary education or below, 49.4% want to have more children; by comparison, where both partners have secondary education, 73.1% want more children. Among partners with some tertiary education, about 55% want more children. This pattern may be a function of age at marriage, which varies markedly by level of education. Table 5 also shows that percentage of couples reporting that they want more children is negatively related with spousal age difference, a finding contrary to the theoretical expectation. It is further observed that the percentage of couples that want more children is lower among couples where both partners belong to traditional religion than among couples who are both Christians or Muslims.   For instance, 43.8% of couples where both partners are adherents of traditional religion reported wanting more children.  The percentage of couples where partners are Christians is 53.2% while the one where they are Muslims is 62.6%.  These relationships are further examined in a multivariate analysis involving the logistic regression.

Multivariate Results

The fertility intention of couples, that is whether or not both partners in marital union desire to have another child, is used as a proxy for reproductive behaviour. To derive this variable, husbands were asked whether they intend to have more children with their wives, or a particular wife in case of polygynous unions; the same question was posed to wives. The matched responses of the husband and wife in the marital dyad are used in constructing couple’s fertility desire: where both partners or one want to have more, and where both partners desire to have no more children. The result indicates that the majority of the couples in the study population want more children. For instance, among the couples interviewed in the study, in 72% of them, both partners reported a desire for more children relative to only 28% where both desired no more children.  The higher reportage of the preference for additional children is consistent with earlier findings (Bankole and Singh, 1998; Odusola, et al., 1998; Feyisetan, 2000). It is also in line with the finding that a high proportion of both husbands and wives want a large family in sub-Saharan Africa including the Yoruba speaking people (Bankole, 1995; Oyediran, 2002).

In order to determine the net effect of socio-demographic characteristics of the individuals (Table 6) and couples (Table 7), logistic regression models are constructed. The dependent variable is whether both partners desire not to have additional children or otherwise, which assumes a value of 1 if the couples want no more children, and zero if both/either want more children. Apart from age and number of living children, the other independent variables are entered as dummies in the usual manner. Overall, four equations are estimated, the first with the two spousal communication variables, the second included individual characteristics of husbands and their spouses, the third included community variables, and the fourth model included media exposure and social affiliation.

The desire to stop childbearing differed notably according to husband-wife discussion status about family planning. Couples with both partners reporting discussion about family planning are about 1.6 times more likely to want no more children than those who did not report discussion. This finding is statistically significant. In the subsequent models, the inclusion of other groups of variables such as individual characteristics, community variables, social affiliation and exposure to media, did not change the odds greatly; and thus remained significant. Spousal discussion about fertility, however, does not have significant effect on the couples’ desire for no more children. This implies that spousal discussion about fertility may be centred on concerns other than family size per se, such as the sex of the child, infertility or subfecundity, etc. By contrast, discussion about family planning is more predictable, namely for fertility limitation or spacing.

Other factors found to have significant effect on the desire to end childbearing are the individuals’ age, husband’s education, number of living children, and husband’s media exposure in the three months preceding survey.  Current age of both husbands and wives have a positive and significant effect on the desire not to have additional children, in other words, the older the husbands or wives are the more likely they are to want no more children, an indication that older couples may have actualized their desired family size. The study reveals that wife’s current age is a better predictor of couples’ fertility intention than their husband’s age (in model 4). As expected, husband’s educational level has a positive effect on the likelihood of wanting no more children, but only the coefficient for tertiary education is statistically significant.  Couples with male partners that have tertiary education are 4 times more likely to want to end childbearing than those whose male partners have no schooling. This may be indicative of some income effect. The significance level remains after controlling other variables in models 3 and 4.  However, the wife’s level of education does not have the expected effect on the couple’s fertility intention, neither is the relationship statistically significant.  This may be related to late marriage among better-educated women.

Wife’s religious affiliation has an unexpected association with couple’s desire to end childbearing although the effects are not significant.  On the other hand, the effect of husband’s religion on the desire to end childbearing is in the expected direction, though not statistically significant. The analysis reveals that couples with male partners who are either Muslims or traditional believers are less likely to want no more children. This may be due to conservative norms and values that are more pronounced among Muslims and adherents of traditional religion relative to Christianity.

Couples in polygynous union are less likely to want to end childbearing relative to their counterparts in monogamous unions.  Although the relationship is not significant, the finding is intuitive in the sense that desire for more children is an important reason for taking a new wife. Consistent with prior research, the number of living children is critical for wanting to end childbearing. This indicates that the high responsibilities borne by parents with a large family size are motivating factors to fertility limitation. The impact of number of living children remains significant after controlling for other variables in model 4.  The study further reveals that couples living in Ogbomoso are less likely to desire no more children than those residing in Iseyin though the odds are not statistically different.  Type of place of residence in a particular town reveals the expected relationship with the desire to limit childbearing, that couples in the transitional and traditional areas are less likely to limit the number of children relative to those in elite areas. 

Among the media exposure variables included in model 4, only husband’s regular exposure to both radio and television has a significant effect on the probability of couples wanting to end childbearing.  This finding underscores the importance of providing men with information, education and counseling on family life issue. The effect of wife’s exposure to media is in the expected direction but not significant, perhaps an indication of the low intensity of women’s media exposure.  The analysis does not find a significant variation in the desire to limit childbearing according to membership of associations by couples, although when both couples belong to associations the odds for wanting no more children are increased.

Table 7 presents the logistic regression models showing the odds for couples who reported wanting no more children by the joint characteristics of husbands and wives.  The first equation in the Table shows that only one of the spousal communication variables (about family planning) has a significant positive relationship with desire to limit childbearing.  The inclusion of other independent variables in models 2 to 4 increases the odds ratio but spousal communication about family planning still remains significant, while spousal communication about number of children has statistically significant effect only in model 4.  The finding draws attention to the fact that spousal communication about family planning is a more important predictor of wanting no more children than spousal communication about number of children, which may not always be unidimensional.

In the second model, age difference between partners is found to exert some significant effect on the likelihood that both partners would end childbearing.  The odds ratio of age difference between partners does not change considerably after controlling for other explanatory factors in models 3 and 4 but ceases to be statistically significant.  Joint educational attainment of couples has the expected direct association with desire to limit childbearing only among couples where both partners have tertiary education.  This is an indication that demographic innovation is well established in the study areas at a relatively high level of education.

Table 7 also reveals that the joint religious affiliation of partners is a significant factor that influences the likelihood that partners would desire to limit childbearing.  Models 2 to 4 show that where both belong to the Islamic religion, or the traditional religion, they are significantly less likely to want no more children than where both partners are Christians. It is interesting to note that couples with at least one Muslim partner are the least likely to want to limit childbearing.  The difference between Muslims and other religious groups may reflect the pro-natalist tendency that is common in Islam.  This phenomenon is due to the fact that Islam supports polygyny and the main reason why men marry more than one wife is to have a large family size.  In addition, the competition that is common among wives in polygyny union, with respect to childbearing and status in the household may also explain the tendency for Muslims to aspire to higher fertility.

Other variables in the model, type of union, number of living children, study town, place of residence, social networks, exposure to radio or the television generally show the same pattern of relationship as discussed in Table 6 above.  Currently family size is very strongly related to wanting no more children; indeed it is only when couples have attained a reasonable family size that consideration for fertility reduction makes sense. It is also evident that exposure to media is significant with respect to family size reduction only when both partners listen to the radio regularly.  Couples among whom both partners reported listening to the radio regularly in the past three months preceding the survey are 2.32 times more likely to want no more children than their counterparts who seldom or never listen to radio.

Discussion and Conclusion

An important measure of reproductive behaviour is couples’ intention to have or not to have additional children. Fertility intention assists programmers and policy makers to predict contraceptive use and fertility behaviour among individuals or couples. In addition, it is commonly used in the literature to estimate unmet need for family planning. The extent of husband-wife communication on contraceptive use or fertility is clearly related to fertility intentions; couples who do not hold such discussions may not see family size as an issue under their control. In this study, reports by husband-wife pairs are analyzed with respect to these variables, with a number of  socio-demographic variables controlled.

The data indicate that 66% of the couples reported joint spousal communication on family planning, and 59% on fertility. These represent fairly high rates of spousal communication on family life issues, which is an important precondition for a sustainable decline in fertility.  This is perhaps another indication that substantial fertility has begun in Yorubaland.  It is also evident that spousal agreement on fertility intentions in a marital dyad is high, with about 87% of couples reporting similar fertility preferences.  Of these 59.5% wanted more children and only 27.8% did not want any more children. Increasing the proportion of couples who want no more children has been the preoccupation of many government agencies and NGOs in Nigeria.  The analysis shows that spousal communication about family planning, husbands’ and wives’ and current family size are significantly related with wanting no more children.  These results are quite intuitive, indicating that a reasonable family size, which is more likely at older ages, is a stimulus for spousal discussion and consideration of contraceptive use and fertility reduction.  The economic hardship that has prevailed in Nigeria over the past decade may have engendered more husband-wife communication because of the felt burden of a large family size in the face of dwindling resources and reduced contribution of children to their parents.  NGOs working in Nigeria should continue to encourage inter-spousal communication about family life issues, which is an important determinant of fertility intentions.

Two other variables that have consistent and significant effect on not wanting more children are education and exposure to the media.  In particular, where both marital partners have tertiary education or are exposed to the media, the probability of wanting more children decreases. That highly educated couples are demographic innovators is a well-established expectation in most populations, among other reasons, because of their higher aspiration for their children, hence the need to avoid the loss of status by having “inferior” children.  With respect to exposure to radio and television, this has become an important means of disseminating vital information in Nigeria, including family planning advertising.  As this study found, however, men are more likely to be exposed to the media than women, clearly a function of gender roles which leave women with little time to listen to radio or to watch television. Nevertheless, as more women are educated and working in the formal sector, they are not only as exposed as their male counterparts, but also are exposed to the print media. This study has revealed that spousal communication on family planning is an important precursor to fertility decline in Yorubaland.  What motivates couples to such discussion and the mode of spousal communication is a subject of another paper.

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[1] This work was supported with a grant  from Union for African Population studies (UAPS), under the auspices of the Small Grants Programme on Population and Development. 

Copyright 2002 - Union for African Population Studies


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