Sex of preceding child and birth spacing among Nigerian ethnic groups
AbstractIn seeking for more effective ways of fertility control and improvement of maternal and child health through birth spacing in a predominantly patrilineal society like Nigeria, this study explores how the sex of a previous child affects birth interval among ethnic groups, controlling for demographic and socioeconomic variables. The study utilized birth history data from the 2008 Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey. The findings showed that the effect of sex of prior births on the birth interval is slightly significant among the Igbo and the Southern minorities, who tend to desire to have a male child sooner if preceding births were female. Among all the ethnic groups, women who are yet to meet their ideal sex preference have a shorter birth interval than those who have. Apart from the evident sex preferences, these results suggest that Nigerian parents also undertake sex balancing among their children. There is a consistent and strong relationship between the survival of a child and subsequent birth interval, which suggest that women have a
short birth interval, and hence a large family size, because they are not certain that their children would survive.
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