Blanc, Ann K., and Steve Grey. 2000. Greater Than Expected Fertility Decline in Ghana: An Examination of the Evidence. DHS Further Analysis Reports No. 32. Calverton, Maryland, USA: Macro International
It has been well established that a strong correlation exists at the national level between contraceptive use and fertility rates. The relationship can be summarised statistically using a linear regression of the contraceptive prevalence rate (CPR) on the total fertility rate (TFR). A recent version of this regression based on more than 100 observations indicates that for every increase of 15 percentage points in the use of contraception among married women, a decline of one child in the total fertility rate may be expected. Significant deviations from this expectation have been noted in a number of studies. In this study, we examine fertility decline in Ghana that is larger than expected on the basis of contraceptive use. Our primary sources of data are three Demographic and Health Surveys conducted in the country in 1988, 1993, and 1998. We examine the evidence for three possible explanations of the TFR-CPR inconsistency.
First, we consider the joint trends in fertility and contraceptive prevalence in Ghana and compare them to the trends that would be expected on the basis of prior research. Next, we attempt to uncover the explanation behind this unexpected finding. Finally, we consider the possibility that couples use adjustments in their coital frequency to obtain their fertility desires, behavior that would influence fertility rates but would not be captured by conventional measures of the proximate determinants of fertility.