Linking Fertility to Micro-Development Schemes? A Structural Equation Analysis of Women's Status, Reproductive Health, and Credit Membership in Rural Ghana

Carolette R. Norwood, University of Nebraska at Lincoln

The United Nations proclaims the year 2005 the year of Micro-credit. According to Schuler, Hashemi and Riley (1997) joining such operations can enhance the propensity to use contraceptives. Yet, research also indicates that women who join microcredit groups are likely to enter with a high sense of autonomy, have comparability lower fertility levels and a greater tendency to use contraceptives (Steel Amin and Nave 2001). Using structural equation modeling, this study evaluates the effectiveness of a rural microcredit scheme in Abokobi Village, Ghana. The sample is 204 women age 19 years and older. One half of the sample belongs to a microcredit organization. Preliminary findings suggest membership have minimal effects on both knowledge and use of contraceptives. A strong predictor of fertility is multiple martial statuses (e.g. martial disruption and remarriage), a variable Mason (1985) notes as often ignored in social demographic research.

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Presented in Poster Session 1: Fertility Determinants, Family Planning, and Sexual Behavior