The fertility revolution in Zimbabwe with special regards to proximate determinants of fertility
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The role of proximate determinants in moderating fertility decline is well documented in developing countries. In Zimbabwe, however, there is a limited understanding of the role of proximate determinants on fertility levels and trends. This study aimed to examine the role of proximate determinants of fertility (namely marriages, postpartum infecundity and contraception) using the Bongaarts proximate determinants model. The impact of these determinants is studied on a sample of married women aged 15-49 years’ and corresponding cross-sectional data obtained through the six consecutive Zimbabwe Demographic Health Surveys (ZDHSs) hold in 1988, 1994, 1999, 2005 and 2015. The results reveal that the overall fertility declined from 5.4, 3.8 and 4.0 children per woman observed among 1988, 1999 and 2015 ZDHSs, respectively. This change was caused by the contraceptive inhibitive effect, which correspondingly increased from 3.00 to 4.65 and 6.45 children per woman. The fertility stalling observed in 1999 and after that is caused by postpartum infecundity and marital fertility inhibition which decreased with time. Moreover, contraceptive inhibition effect increased with education, wealth quintiles, and urban residence. In contrast, marital and postpartum infecundity fertility inhibition effects inversely correlate with education, wealth quintiles, and the place of residence. Therefore, to foster further fertility decline to replacement level, policies should promote contraceptive adoption, more extended breastfeeding periods and delay entry into early marriages. Furthermore, women empowerment, especially the promotion of female education to higher education and female employment, could be useful tools to further fertility decline.