Fertility, Contraceptive Choice, and Public Policy in Zimbabwe

by Duncan Thomas, John Maluccio

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Zimbabwe has invested massively in public infrastructure since independence in 1980. The impact of these investments on demographic outcomes is examined using household survey data matched with two community surveys. A woman's education is a powerful predictor of both fertility and contraceptive use. These relationships are far from linear and have changed shape in recent years. After controlling for household resources, both the availability and the quality of health and family planning services have an important impact on the adoption of modern contraceptives. In particular, outreach programs such as mobile family planning clinics and community-based distributors (CBDs) have been especially successful. However, not all women are equally served by this infrastructure. For example, CBDs have a bigger impact on younger, better educated women, while mobile family planning clinics appear to have more success with older, less educated women.

Originally published in: The World Bank Economic Review, v. 10, no. 1, pp. 189-222.

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