Main Article Content
The relationship between religious beliefs and use of contraception may vary from one country to another depending on how homogenous a country is or whether different religious groups do exist and are well represented. The paper examines the effect of religious groups on the use of contraception among currently married women in Nigeria. Data from four Nigerian DHSs were used for this purpose. Use of contraception is still very low in Nigeria and the trend has not been very encouraging. By 2008, the contraceptive prevalence rate was only 15 percent. The bivariate analysis indicates a strong effect of religion on the use of contraception over time which was confirmed by the introduction of control variables in the multivariate analysis. It can be concluded therefore that there is sufficient evidence that religious beliefs have an influence on contraceptive use in Nigeria. Christians are more likely to use contraception than their Muslim counterparts. The study also shows that other factors that influence use of contraception include education and occupation of women, number of living children, rural-urban and region of residence. Efforts to increase contraceptive usage in Nigeria should target religious leaders and put more emphasis on raising the status of women and promoting region specific programmes.
Keywords: Married women, religious beliefs, contraception, fertility, family planning, Nigeria