The Kenya Demographic and Health Survey (KDHS) 2022 just published, shows the average number of children born to women has fallen to 3.4 per woman in 2022, down from 4.6 in 2008 and 6.7 in 1989.
The declining fertility rate can partly be attributed to social and economic changes in society, with women delaying having their first child and thereafter extending intervals between births in order to pursue their education and careers.
Women and Education a Key Factor
The importance of the level of education of women in explaining the reduction in birth rate is key.
Women with no education bore 6.3 children during the period of the survey, whereas women with a secondary education had 2.8 children each.
Wealth too is an important factor. Women in the wealthiest quintile had on average 2.7 children each compared to an average of 5.3 children in the lowest wealth quintile.
United Nations Population Prospects 2022
The KDHS report is supported by the findings of the UN’s World Population Prospects 2022 which reveals lower fertility rates across several countries resulting from more women in higher education, in addition to factors such as the high cost of childcare, challenges to work-family balance and caring for ageing parents.
The UN report says that the ‘mean ideal’ number of children for women aged 15-49 falls as educational attainment rises, from 7.3 children per women with no education to 3.1 in the case of women with more than a secondary education.
The UN’s figures for worldwide average fertility for 2021 was 2.3 births per woman over a lifetime, markedly down from 1950 when the figure was five births per woman.
The UN estimate that global fertility will fall to 2.1 births per woman by 2050.
Kenya Forum readers might also be interested in:
Kenya’s Falling Fertility Rates (6/2/2022)
Kenya’s Population Growth Challenge (19/12/2020)
Kenya’s Population – Fewer Children More Youth (14/8/2018)
UNICEF Generation Report: Africa’s Population will Double by 2050 (14/8/2014)