The Highest Decline In Total Fertility Rate (TFR) in Ethiopia Recorded in Amhara Region: Study

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11-4-2017

A research report published last year by seven Ethiopian and international scholars has showed that  the highest decline in total fertility rate (TFR) in Ethiopia was recorded in Amhara Region of Ethiopia.

The analyses used data from three Demographic and Health Surveys in Ethiopia (2000, 2005, and 2011), which are nationally representative data collected through questionnaire-based interviews from women 15–49 using a stratified, two-stage cluster sampling. The researchers composed of Department of Reproductive Health and Management, School of Public Health, Addis Ababa University, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), New York, and Federal University of Pelotas, Brazil among others,  examined the trends of and relationship between TFR (in the 3 years before each survey) and modern contraceptive use among currently married women in all administrative regions over the time period 2000–2011 using linear regression analysis.

The study finds:

As shown in Table 1, the TFR in the 3 years preceding each survey declined significantly by 0.7 children per woman, from 5.5 (95% CI: 5.3, 5.7) to 4.8 (95% CI: 4.5, 5.1) between 2000 and 2011 at the national level. The region with the highest and statistically significant drop in TFR was Amhara (by 1.4 children per woman). TFR also showed relatively higher decline in Tigray (by 0.4 children per woman) and SNNP (by 0.7 child per woman), though not significantly different. On the other hand, the Somali region saw a reverse trend, with TFR increasing by two children per woman during the same period, although marginally significant (TFR in 2000=5.1, 95% CI: 3.9, 6.3 vs. TFR in 2011=7.1, 95% CI: 6.0, 8.2). There was no statistically significant change in TFR for the rest of the regions.

Trends in TFR for births in the preceding 3 years by region and residence across time, Ethiopia DHS 2000 to 2011

Characteristic TFR in 2000 (95% CI) n TFR in 2011 (95% CI) N Absolute change DHS 2000–2011
Total 5.5 (5.3, 5.7) 15,306 4.8 (4.5, 5.1) 16,438 −0.7
Residence
 Urban 3.0 (2.6, 3.4) 4,530 2.6 (−0.6, 5.9) 5,310 −0.4
 Rural 6.0 (5.8, 6.3) 10,776 5.5 (5.1, 5.8) 11,128 −0.5
Region
 Addis Ababaa 1.8 (1.2, 2.5) 2,010 1.5 (0.9, 2.1) 1,738 −0.3
 Dire Dawaa 3.5 (2.6, 4.3) 1,048 3.4 (2.6, 4.0) 1,086 −0.1
 Harari 4.2 (3.1, 5.3) 906 3.8 (3.1, 4.6) 1,094 −0.4
 Gambela 4.4 (2.3, 6.5) 873 4.0 (2.9, 5.0) 1,122 −0.4
 Afar 4.4 (3.4, 5.4) 855 4.6 (4.1, 5.1) 1,283 0.2
 Benishangul-Gumuz 5.0 (4.3, 5.8) 991 5.2 (4.3, 6.1) 1,257 0.2
 Somali 5.1 (3.9, 6.3) 837 7.1 (5.9, 8.2) 913 2.0
 Tigray 5.3 (4.7, 6.0) 1,300 5.0 (4.3, 5.6) 1,717 −0.4
 Amhara 5.5 (5.0, 6.0) 1,903 4.2 (3.7, 4.6) 2,077 −1.4b
 SNNP 5.6 (5.2, 5.9) 2,017 4.9 (4.3, 5.4) 2,027 −0.7
 Oromia 6.1 (5.6, 6.5) 2,566 5.6 (4.9, 6.3) 2,124 −0.4
aCity administration councils;

bstatistically significant.n=number of women (un-weighted). TFR, total fertility rate; CI, confidence interval; DHS, Demographic and Health Survey; SNNP, Southern Nations and Nationalities People.

The researchers indicate “The observed inverse relationship between changes in TFR and contraceptive prevalence rate (mCPR) points to the fact that regions with low modern contraceptive use have higher fertility, which in turn is associated with higher prevalence of births with risk factors.”  This is to mean that regions like Somali, Gambella and Benishangul and Afar, which showed an increase in TFR had the least modern contraceptive use and regions with high modern contraceptive use had lower fertility. However, Addis Abeba, which has the capital of Ethiopia and also has the leading high modern contraceptive use still had higher TFR than Amhara region.

The work was funded through a sub-grant from the US Fund for UNICEF under the Countdown to 2015 for Maternal, Newborn and Child Survival grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Various Ethiopian activists have been writing and campaigning about what they called the three million missing Amhara people and mass sterilization of young Amhara women alleging that the current Ethiopian government was behind the rapid decrease in birth rate and increase in the  inability of women in the Amhara region to conceive and give birth compared to all regions of Ethiopia.

Please read full report here.