News / Africa

Kenya Marks Progress on Birth-Rate Management

Josephine Ochieng holds her newborn baby boy at the Nyanza Provincial general, Kisumu, Kenya, November 2008.Josephine Ochieng holds her newborn baby boy at the Nyanza Provincial general, Kisumu, Kenya, November 2008.
x
Josephine Ochieng holds her newborn baby boy at the Nyanza Provincial general, Kisumu, Kenya, November 2008.
Josephine Ochieng holds her newborn baby boy at the Nyanza Provincial general, Kisumu, Kenya, November 2008.
Gabe Joselow
NAIROBI -- In the last 40 years, Nairobi has made great strides in reducing its national fertility rate -- the average number of children a Kenyan woman bears in her lifetime -- from about eight children per woman to just under five, according to World Bank and Kenyan government statistics.

The country now has the second-lowest fertility rate in East Africa, behind Burundi, while neighboring Somalia and Uganda average around six children per woman.

Although the demographic change is part of Kenya's strategy to promote sustainable population growth, families are still having more children than they want.

According to Boniface K'Oyugi, director general of Kenya's National Council for Population and Development, Kenyans historically had more children based on the assumption that some would inevitably die young. Improved public health services, however, have reduced child mortality rates.

“According to the latest demographic and health survey, both men and women desire to have four children on the average, but they are actually having five children," he says, explaining that Nairobi is targeting an average national fertility rate of three children per woman by 2030, with hopes of ultimately reaching the average at which the population with stabilize -- around two children per women.

Education, especially for women, he says, is the key.

“From the demographic and health survey data we have, girls that have gone beyond secondary-education level generally give birth to fewer children by the time they complete their reproductive ages, as compared to their counterparts who never went to school," he says.

While Kenya is using public health clinics and youth-friendly programs to educate the population about birth control and maternal-care options, socio-economic progress is also shaping perceptions of family size.

Although it was once considered cost effective to produce many children to work and give money back to the parents, for example, money now flows the other way.

"If the direction of the wealth is mainly from the parents to the children, the fewer children you have the better [off] you are as a parent," says K'Oyugi.

Despite changing perceptions and overall progress, disparities persist across the country's provinces.

According to a 2010 public health survey, more than 50 percent of married women in Nairobi use some form of contraception, compared to only 3 percent of married women in North Eastern province.

Even by the most conservative estimates, Kenya expects its population of about 40 million to grow to more than 65 million by 2030.

You May Like

Key Al-Shabab Commander Captured

Zakariye Ismail Hersi was captured in a raid Saturday morning in the town of El Wak near the border with Kenya More

Relations Between Pakistan, Afghanistan Key to Fighting Taliban

A Pakistani official tells VOA that anti-terrorism campaign has resulted in improved counter-terrorism cooperation with Afghanistan More

160,000 Displaced by Flooding in Malaysia

Prime Minister Najib Razak visits hard-hit Kelantan state, announces nearly $145M in additional relief for victims More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Estimates Rising of Foreign Fighters in Iraq, Syriai
X
Jeff Seldin
December 24, 2014 11:38 PM
Foreign fighters are making more of a mark on the battles raging across Syria and Iraq than initially thought. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more.
Video

Video Estimates Rising of Foreign Fighters in Iraq, Syria

Foreign fighters are making more of a mark on the battles raging across Syria and Iraq than initially thought. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more.
Video

Video Russians Head Into Holiday Facing Economic Malaise

Russian preparations for the New Year holiday are clouded by economic recession and a tumbling currency, the ruble. Nonetheless, people in the Russian capital appear to be in a festive mood. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Mombasa in Holiday Tourism Slump Due to Security Fears

Kenya's usually popular beachside tourist destination of Mombasa is seeing a much slower holiday season this year due to fears of insecurity as the country has suffered from a string of terror attacks linked to Somali militants. Mohammed Yusuf reports for VOA on how businessmen and tourists feel about the situation.
Video

Video For Somalis, 2014 Marked by Political Instability Within Government

While Somalia has long been torn apart by warfare and violence, this year one of the country's biggest challenges has come from within the government, as political infighting curtails the country's progress, threatens security gains and disappoints the international community. VOA's Gabe Joselow report.
Video

Video US Political Shift Could Affect Iran Nuclear Talks

Secretary of State John Kerry’s efforts to resolve Iran’s nuclear crisis are continuing into 2015 after Iran and six world powers failed to agree by a November deadline. U.S. domestic politics, however, could complicate efforts to reach a deal in the new year. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video NYSE: The Icon of Capitalism

From its humble beginnings in 1792 to its status as an economic bellweather for the world, the New York Stock Exchange is an integral part of the story of America. VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from Wall Street.
Video

Video Islamic State Emergence Transforms Syria and Iraq in 2014

The emergence of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria as a potent force in early 2014 changed the dynamics of the region. Their brutal methods - including executions and forced slavery - horrified the international community, drawing Western forces into the conflict. It also splintered the war in Syria, where more than 200,000 Syrians have died in the conflict. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell looks back at a deadly year in the region -- and what 2015 may hold.
Video

Video Massive Study Provides Best Look at Greenland Ice Loss Yet

The Greenland ice sheet is melting faster than predicted, according to a new study released in the Proceedings of the National Academic of Sciences that combines NASA satellite data and aerial missions. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the finding means coastal communities worldwide could be at greater risk, sooner, from the impact of rising seas.
Video

Video US Marines, Toys for Tots Bring Christmas Joy

Christmas is a time for giving in the United States, especially to young children who look forward to getting presents. But some families don't have money to buy gifts. For nearly 70 years, a U.S. Marines-sponsored program has donated toys and distributed them to underprivileged children during the holiday season. VOA's Deborah Block tells us about the annual Toys for Tots program.
Video

Video France Rocked by Attacks as Fear of ISIS-Inspired Terror Grows

Eleven people were injured, two seriously, when a man drove his car into crowds of pedestrians Sunday night in the French city of Dijon, shouting ‘God is Great’ in Arabic. It’s the latest in a series of apparent ‘lone-wolf’ terror attacks in the West. Henry Ridgwell looks at the growing threat of attacks, which security experts say are likely inspired by the so-called "Islamic State" terror group.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid