Introduction: Fertility levels in many parts of the world continues to rise despite huge resources committed to fertility reduction programmes, with resultant effects on man and his environment. The objective of this study is to assess and compare marriage pattern as determinants of fertility among women living in rural and urban communities in south western Nigeria:
Methodology: Descriptive, cross sectional comparative study among 1024 women of reproductive age group in rural and urban communities using multistage sampling method. Research instrument used were pre-coded, pre-tested, semi structured interviewer administered questionnaires, and data analyzed using the SPSS software.
Results: Mean age at first marriage was 19.6 +3.3 years for rural women and 22.6 +3.9 years among urban women, and the mean difference was statistically significant(p=0.001). Polygamy featured more prominently in rural setting with 212 (41.5%) of respondents compared to 111(21.7%) of urban respondents. In rural setting, 9(27.2%) of respondents remarried among the divorced, separated and widowed (all combined) compared to 11 (32.4%) of same group of urban respondents, and bear children for the new husband in re-marriage.
Mean number of births per woman (index of total fertility rate) was 3.4+1.8 births per woman in rural, and 2.9+1.5 births per urban woman. Women with formal education in both settings had about a half (OR=0.59, 95% C.I=0.45-0.95 and p=0.001) fold fertility level and about one-eighth fold (OR=0.08, 95% C.I=0.06-0.12 and p=0.019) chance of having first marriage below 20 years compared to women with no formal education.
Conclusion: Fertility reduction programmes should remove socio cultural barriers influencing early marriage and indiscriminate remarriages in order to achieve her aims.
Fertility, marriage pattern, determinants, re-marriage