Family Changes and Childbearing in Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Pedzisai Ndagurwa
  • Garikayi B. Chemhaka


Childbearing in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) has traditionally occurred within the context of marriage. The recent decades have seen changes in family structures and, similarly, changes in the family context of childbearing. However, systematic investigations of the relationship between family changes and childbearing in the sub-region have been scant. This chapter addresses this gap by analysing the relationship between family changes and childbearing in SSA. A descriptive cross-sectional research design, with Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) data from Kenya and Zimbabwe, is used in this chapter to examine the relationship between family changes and childbearing. The analyses conceptualise the family based on co-residence and relationship status of household members to the head of the household. Findings show a predominance of complex, extended and nuclear structures. With regard to childbearing, there is evidence to suggest that women are giving birth outside marital unions. Women living in single nuclear and solitary households are having children, although they may not co-reside with them. Nonetheless, a greater percentage of childbearing is associated with living in complex, extended and nuclear households.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pedzisai Ndagurwa
    • 1
  • Garikayi B. Chemhaka
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Demography and Population Studies ProgrammeUniversity of the WitwatersrandJohannesburgSouth Africa
  2. 2.Department of Statistics and DemographyUniversity of EswatiniKwaluseniSwaziland

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