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    Understanding fertility preferences is important for population studies and planning programs. The ideal family size, which is the number of children wanted in one's lifetime, is one of variables used to measure fertility preferences. However, there was limited information on ideal family size decision in Southern Ethiopia. Therefore, this study was designed to assess ideal family size decision and its associated factors among women of reproductive age in Southern Ethiopia. A community based cross-sectional study was conducted in 2015 in Southern Ethiopia. Multi-stage stratified cluster sampling was used to select 3,205 study subjects. Data on socio-demographic characteristics, reproductive history, deciding ideal number of children, knowledge and utilization of contraceptives were considered. Descriptive statistics and binary logistic regression were done to describe and assess factors associated with deciding ideal family size. The association between variables was presented using odds ratios with 95% confidence intervals. We included 3,205 women of reproductive age from which 37.5% respondents could not read and write and 56.5% were housewives. About half of the respondents, 47.1%, did not decide ideal numeric family size or failed to report numeric preferences while 21.6% desire to have five or more children. The mean ideal number of children preferred was 4.5 ± 1.62. Educational status (P < 0.001), overall knowledge about contraceptives (P < 0.001), current contraceptive use (P < 0.001), place of residence (P < 0.001), age (P < 0.004), marital status (P < 0.003) and number of living children (P < 0.003) were factors associated with deciding ideal family size. Only about half of respondents decided ideal family size from which one fifth prefer high fertility. The mean ideal number of children was comparable with that of Sub-Saharan estimate. Counselling that can empower women to decide family size should be strengthened to empower less empowered women. © 2023 Endriyas et al.


    Misganu Endriyas, Agegnehu Gebru, Amare Assefa. Ideal family size decision and its associated factors among women of reproductive age: community survey in southern Ethiopia. PeerJ. 2023;11:e15103

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    PMID: 36967984

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