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We study how the availability and use of family planning services in African countries influences the family planning situation of households and through this the educational participation of young children. A district panel dataset is used for 441 urban and rural areas within 233 districts of 25 countries. Path analysis shows that a decrease in the number of births is associated with an increase in educational participation in the area. The number of births is negatively associated with acceptance, knowledge and actual use of contraceptives in the area. As reversed causality and selection bias seem unlikely, the identified relationship probably is at least partially causal. Hence, investments in family planning services in poor areas are not only important because they allow women to plan their births better, but also because they may lead to higher primary enrolment rates and thus contribute to the region’s future economic growth. (Afr J Reprod Health 2013; 17: 23-38).
Keywords: Fertility; Family Planning ; Path Analysis; District Panel; Children’s Schooling; Africa