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Nigerian Out Of Wedlock Births Health And Social Care Essay

Info: 4461 words (18 pages) Nursing Essay
Published: 11th Feb 2020

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The concept of childbearing, fertility and marriage house constantly been linked together in Nigeria. In the 1990s, out of wedlock birth was rapidly increasing despite Nigerians cultural influence on its population. Nigerians marry to have children, and marriage has meaning only when a child is born or in fact survives (Uche C. Isiugo-Abanihe, 1994). According to Olusanya(1982), “marriage in Nigeria is so closely linked with childbearing that a change in the pattern of marriage necessarily influence birth rate and the rate of population growth”.

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Data presented in this report are derived from the Demographic and Health Surveys conducted in Nigeria in 1990. This was done by Federal Office of Statistics, Nigeria, and IRD/Macro International, United States. This survey interviewed 8,781 women aged 15-49. All statistical data and sample in this project was obtained from this article.

In this dissertation, we will focus on the high level of unwanted pregnancy and out of wedlock birth occurring in Nigeria as a result of low levels of contraceptive use among women in many parts of the country. This project will reveals wide variation in levels of contraceptive use among married and sexually active unmarried women. Both groups have a significant unmet need for family planning, but the reasons for their need differ. we will use old and previous data and surveys collected and conducted during the 1990s by the Nigerian federal office of statistics to explain and solve theoretically and statistically the purpose of this project which is to explain the out of wedlock birth per woman between 1950s and 1980s in Nigeria. All statistical element of this project will be done using sampling and standard error. Selection from the entire country to determine the fertility, determinants of fertility and fertility regulations that led to an increase in out of wedlock birth during the 1970s to 1990s. Relatively, little empirical work has been conducted for out of wedlock birth in Nigeria. The statistical used in this project has been conducted by the NDHS(Nigerian Demographic Health Survey) mostly drawn from the National Master Sample for the 1987/1992 National Integrated Survey of Households (NISH) and the 1973 Nigerian census result. There is wide regional variation in the timing of marriage among Nigerian women. More than nine in 10 women aged 20-24 in the North East and North West had married by age 20, compared with half to three fourths of women in the three southern regions (The Alan Guttmacher Institute, 2005 series, No4).

Nigeria is one of the largest countries in Africa and the most populated Black Country in the world with a population of over 100 million people, nearly twice the size of any other African country. The North East and North West regions are predominantly Muslim, the South East and South regions are mostly Christians, each with its own values and traditions regarding marriage, sexual behaviour, education and childbearing. There are major regional and educational differences in fertility. Women in the north have, on average, one child more than women in the south and women with no education have two children more than women who completed secondary or higher schooling. According to the NDHS survey, the fertility rate of a Nigerian woman between the ages of 15-49 from 1978-1990 moved from 5.9 to 6.0 significantly with an average of 6 children.

Source: : Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey, 1990.

Source: : Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey, 1990.

The project reveals a big difference in levels of contraceptive use among married and sexually active unmarried women. Both groups have a significant unmet need for family planning, but the reasons for their need differ. The study directs attention toward far-reaching health policy and program responses that affect birth rate in Nigeria. The numerous ethnic groups found in Nigeria contribute considerable cultural diversity. In 1960s, Many article described the growth in Nigeria’s out of wedlock birth rate as a brief excitement amongst the Nigerian people that they had achieved independence finally, some presumed it to be illiteracy but a close study proved otherwise (study show that out of wedlock birth was more frequent among the most educated women (meekers, 1994b; Calves2000; Emina 2005), excitement of motherhood amongst teenage girls played a minor role, and also the brief civil war that began in 1967 and ended in 1970 played a bigger role in the whole analysis. The Nigerian fertility survey during 1981/82 put the average number of child birth per woman at 6.4 %( mostly out of wedlock). Although the data here suggest a slight decline from in the 1970s rate, the level is still relatively high.(www.onlinenigeria.com). During the civil war, many women were reluctant in getting married to prevent bearing the pain of being widows and war casualties. This effected their judgement and led to more pregnancies among women that are unmarried. According to some data analysed during that period by Donald Jonathan, Approximately 45% of children born among teenage women in Nigeria at that time were conceived outside of marriage; double the level recorded during the same period among women aged 18 and older (Donald 1979). This was a huge jump in the growth of the countries fast growing general population. The World Bank estimated Nigeria’s annual growth rate was rising during the 1950s. Although other sources differed on the exact figure, virtually all sources agreed that the annual rate of population growth in the country had increased from the 1950s through most of the 1980s. The government estimated a 2% rate of population growth for most of the country between 1953 and 1962. For the period between 1965 and 1973, the World Bank estimated Nigeria’s growth rate at 2.5%, increasing to 2.7 percent between 1973 and 1983. Before 1970, the stigma of unwed motherhood was so great that few women were willing to bear children outside of marriage.

Total fertility rate for the three years preceding the survey end mean number of children ever born to women age 40-49, by selected background characteristics, Nigeria 1990




Mean number Mean number

of children of children

Total ever born Total ever born

Fertility to women fertility to women

Rate age 15-49 rate age 15-49


Urban 5.03 6.01 5.79 4.81

Rural 6.33 6.61 5.98 5.56


Northeast 6.53 5.75 5.95 4.34

Northwest 6.64 6.21 6.38 4.49

Southeast 5.57 6.99 5.72 6,53

Southwest 5.46 6.84 6.25 5.30


No education 6.50 6.41 6.14 5.45

Some primary 7.17 7,3 6.81 5,99

Completed primary 5.57 6.54 7.59 5.71

Some secondary 5.07 6.44 3.90 4.31

Completed 4.18 5.82 NA NA

Total 6.01 6.49 5.94 5.41

Source: : Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey, 1990.

Premarital sexual activity is most common among more educated women, who tend to postpone marriage the longest. In the southern regions, where educational levels are highest and the smallest proportions of young women are married, 41-69% of women aged 20-24 had had premarital intercourse by age 20. This compares with only 6-14% in the North West and North East, where educational levels are lowest and marriage before 20 is most common. The above diagram compares three-year total fertility rates as estimated by the NDHS and NFS. The two surveys, nearly a decade apart, yield almost the same total fertility rates (5.9 for the NFS and 6.0 for the NDHS. Both surveys do indicate that the fertility of uneducated women is fifty percent higher than the fertility of the most educated women.

Reasons for increase in out of wedlock birth

Three quarter of Nigerian women in the 1990s were married. Age at first marriage differed by region. In the north, women married early, at an average of 15 years of age. In the south, however, women are marrying later in life. Among younger women, the average age at first marriage is over 19 in the southeast and over 20 in the southwest. Women who marry later in life are more likely to have premarital sex which is a clear example of out of wedlock birth. Although the society does not approve of this behaviour, in regions where women stay in school longer and are, therefore, less likely to marry at a young age, premarital sexual behaviour is common. In the Southwest, where a great proportion of women aged 19-49 have completed secondary/ higher education and about one-fourth had not married by age 20, 69% had had premarital sex by this age. In contrast, in the less developed North West region, where only one in five women aged 19-49 have completed secondary/higher education, only a hand full said they had had premarital sex by age 20. These findings illustrate that in the northern regions, where most women in their early 20s have received no more than primary schooling, most sexual activity occurs within the context of marriage.

In 1978-1982, Nigeria’s total fertility rate was 6.4 children per woman. By 1990, it had dropped to 6.0. The distribution of women by number of children ever born within the 1960s to 1980s is presented in the table below for all women and married women. This survey was conducted by the NDHS and documented statistically. The mean number of children ever born for all women increases rapidly with age,

so that by the end of her childbearing years; a woman has given birth to almost seven children. The distribution of women by number of births indicates that almost one quarter of teens have already borne a

child, and nearly one-third of women age 45 and over have borne nine or more children.

Nationally and in all regions of the country, women aged 15-49 are having more children than he want.

Source: Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey, 1990.

Rural women have about one child more than their urban counterparts (6.1 vs. 4.9), and women in the less developed northern regions also have more children than women in the south. Yet women in the South South and South East regions have the largest gaps between their wanted and actual fertility rates, while women in the North West are nearly matching their fertility goals. Overall, women living in both rural and urban areas have more children than they want.

Contraception Knowledge and Use: in the survey conducted by the NDHS, it indicates that less than half (46 percent) of all Nigerian women age 15-49 know of at least one method of family planning. This means that over half of the women reported that they did not know any method of family planning. Knowledge of methods was slightly lower among married women and higher among never-married. Although the level of contraceptive knowledge in Nigeria is low, there has been improvement over time. In the 1981/82 Nigerian Fertility Survey (NFS), only 34 percent of all women reported that they had heard of any method Thus, in the 10 years between the NFS and the NDHS, the level of contraceptive knowledge increased by 35 percent. There were also large increases in the proportion of women who knew and used specific methods.

Contraceptive use among married and sexually active unmarried women aged 15-49

Married women sexually active

Unmarried women

% using % using a % using % using a

An effective traditional an effective traditional

Modern method modern method

Method method

Total 7 6 33 14


North Central 9 4 32 5

North East 2 2 10 3

North West 2 3 23 3

South East 12 10 20 27

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South South 12 13 35 16

South West 21 11 53 13


<7 years 4 4 17 5

€¾7 years 16 11 38 17

Source: Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey, 2003.Contraceptive Use

A small proportion of married women in Nigeria use a contraceptive method as seen on the above diagram. Contraceptive use in Nigeria is rare probably because of the preference for large families. In 2003, only 7% of married women aged 15-49 were using an effective modern method of contraception (implants, IUDs, the pill, the male condom, and female or male sterilization). Another 6% were relying on withdrawal, periodic abstinence, lactational amenorrhea or traditional folk methods. There are wide regional differences in overall levels of Contraceptive use: Only 2% of married women in the North East and North West regions are using effective modern methods, and 2-3% is using traditional methods. In the South West, in sharp contrast, 21% of married women are using effective modern methods, and an additional 11% are using traditional methods. In the remaining three regions, 9-12% of married women are using an effective modern method. It is noteworthy that overall contraceptive use is more than three times as high among married women with seven or more years of education as among those with less education (27% vs. 8%).(The Alan Guttmacher Institute, 2005 series, No4).

Other case of ctraception

Contraceptive use is much higher among sexually active unmarried women.

In all regions of the country, probably because of widespread societal disapproval of out-of-wedlock pregnancies and births, sexually active unmarried women are more likely than married women to use a contraceptive method (47% vs. 13%-Table 2). In the South West region, 53% of sexually active unmarried women are using an effective modern method and 13% a traditional method, compared with 10% and 3%, respectively, in the North East region. And unmarried women with seven or more years of education are more than twice as likely to be practicing family planning as their less educated counterparts (55% vs. 22%). In addition, 46% of unmarried women who use contraceptives choose condoms, compared with only 15% of married users (not shown).

Low awareness, disapproval and uncertain supply keep contraceptive use low.

Various factors help explain the low level of contraceptive use among married Nigerian women. Foremost among these is that women generally want large families. Yet low awareness of family planning, conservative cultural attitudes and uncertain contraceptive supply are also important influences. More than 20% of women aged 15-49 have never heard of any method to prevent pregnancy, traditional or modern. The women who are most aware of contraception live in urban areas, have at least seven years of education, or listen to the radio or watch television regularly (about 90% of each group). Even if women have heard of family planning, many do not know where to obtain contraceptives: Of the 78% of women who are aware of any method, only half know where they can get it. In the North East and North West regions, only 28-36% of married women and 24 28% of sexually active unmarried women who are aware of family planning know where to go for contraceptive services. A much higher proportion of aware women in the South West region know a possible source of methods-77% of married women and 82% of sexually active unmarried women.

Low contraceptive use is also partly attributable to the fact that four in 10 married women disapprove of family planning. A data survey conducted by the NDHS shows the reasons for not using contraception given by women who do not intend to use a method. Of the 68 percent of married nonusers who say they do not intend to use family planning in the future, almost half say they do not intend to use because they want children (47 percent). Other reasons given are “religion” (12 percent), lack of knowledge (12 percent), and “fatalism” (6 percent), which encompasses responses that imply that there is nothing the woman can do about the number of children she

will have. Women under age 30 are more likely to say that they do not intend to use because they want children, while those age 30 and over are more likely to cite reasons such as being menopausal or lack of knowledge.


NDHS sample method used in this project is as a result of a two-stage stratified design, and, consequently, it was necessary to use more complex formulas. The computer package CLUSTERS, developed by the International Statistical Institute for the World Fertility Survey, was used to compute the sampling errors with the proper statistical methodology. The CLUSTERS treats any percentage or average as a ratio estimate, r = y/x, where y represents the total sample value for variable y, and x represents the total number of cases in the group or subgroup under consideration. The variance of r is computed using the formula given below, with the standard error being the square root of the variance:

Sampling errors for the NDHS are calculated for selected variables considered to be of primary

interest. The results are presented in this appendix for the country as a whole, for urban and rural areas, and for the four health zones: Northeast, Northwest, Southeast, and Southwest. For each variable, the type of statistic (mean or proportion) and the base population are given in Table B. 1. Tables B.2 to B.8 present the value of the statistic (R), its standard error (SE), the number of unweighted (N) and weighted (WN) cases, the design effect (DEFT), the relative standard error (SE/R), and the 95 percent confidence limits (R~SE), for each variable. In general, the relative standard errors of most estimates for the country as a whole are small, except for estimates of very small proportions. There are some differentials in the relative standard error for the estimates of sub-populations such as geographical areas. For example, for the variable EVBORN (children ever born to women aged 15-49), the relative standard error as a percent of the estimated mean for the whole country, for urban areas and for the Southeast zone is 1.5 percent, 2.3 percent, and 2.7 percent, respectively. The confidence interval (e.g., as calculated for EVBORN) can be interpreted as follows: the overall average from the national sample is 3.311 and its standard error is .051. Therefore, to obtain the 95 percent confidence limits, one adds and subtracts twice the standard error to the sample estimate, i.e., 3.311+.102. There is a high probability (95 percent) that the true average number of children ever born to all women aged 15 to 49 is between 3.209 and 3.413. 148

Conclusion: According to the NDHS, fertility remained high in Nigeria during the1980s. The total fertility rate may actually be higher than 6.0, due to underestimation of births. This is why out of wedlock birth has constant increased during these periods. In a 1981/82 survey, the total fertility rate was estimated to be 5.9 children per woman. One reason for the high level of fertility is that use of contraception is limited. Only 6 percent of married women currently use a contraceptive method (3.5 percent use a modem method, and 2.5 percent use a traditional method). Levels of fertility and contraceptive use are not likely to change until there is a drop in desired family size and until the idea of reproductive choice is more widely accepted. At present, the average ideal family size is essentially the same as the total fertility rate: six children per woman. Thus, the vast majority of births are wanted. The desire for childbearing is strong in Nigeria. Half of women with five children say that they want to have another child. Another factor leading to high fertility is the early age at marriage and childbearing in Nigeria. Half of all women are married by age 17 and half have become mothers by age 20. More than a quarter of teenagers (women age 15-19 years) either are pregnant or already have children. National statistics mask dramatic variations in fertility and family planning between urban and rural areas, among different regions of the country, and by women’s educational attainment. Women who are from urban areas or live in the South and those who are better educated want and have fewer children than other women and are more likely to know of and use modem contraception. For example, women in the South are likely to marry and begin childbearing several years later than women in the North. In the North, women continue to follow the traditional pattern and marry early, at a median age of 15, while in the South, women are marrying at a median age of 19 or 20.Although fertility rates are declining as modernization is increasing, Many women are still experiencing unwanted and unplanned pregnancies, with consequences ranging from interruption of schooling to health risks and economic hardship, all of which hinder efforts to improve their socioeconomic status. By educating and empowering both married and sexually active unmarried women to make informed and responsible decisions about contraceptive use and their desired fertility, the Nigerian government can improve both the health and the economic productivity of its citizens.


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