Which Men Promote Smaller Families? Marital Relations and Men's Reproductive Decisions among the Pare of Northern Tanzania

Marida Hollos, Brown University
Ulla Larsen, Harvard University

This research comes in the wake of increasing interest in men's roles in childbearing decisions in sub-Saharan Africa. This paper examines the relationship between male attitudes toward reproduction and marital relations. The research was conducted in a Pare community in Northern Tanzania. It is based on a combination of an ethnographic study and in-depth interviews. A subsequent survey was administered to 400 men, the husbands of a simple random sample of women previously interviewed. Preliminary analysis suggests that in a marital union where the husband makes the major decisions, where bride-wealth is paid by the husband's family and where the marriage is likely to have been arranged by the parents, the number of children is significantly higher than in unions where these conditions do not hold. These marriages, in addition, are likely to be polygynous and the religion of the men, Muslim.

Presented in Session 93: Men's Role in Reproduction in Developing Countries