Social Identity and Community Effects on Emergent Birth Limitation in Southern Ethiopia

Dennis Hogan, Brown University
Belay T. Biratu, Brown University

This study examines the effects of social identity on birth limitation in Southern Ethiopia, a rural region of 11.1 million persons, with more than 80 distinct ethnic, religious, and ethnic identities. The data are drawn from the 1997 Family and Community Survey, that collected information on community, household, and women's life and reproductive health. The survey took place in 29 communities, yielding a sample of 2550 women. Using ordered logistic regressions models we find that the negative effects of ethnic identity on emergent birth limitation are lessened by residence in a community in which they are in the minority, or with diverse social identities. This is particularly the case among Muslems. Even so, among the poorest Muslem Silte communities, shia law reinforces traditional pronatalist attitudes and behaviors. Crises in food production, water collection, and drought, along with exceptionally poor roads, schools, health care centers hinder emergent birth limitation.

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Presented in Session 31: Fertility Transitions in Africa