The shrinking family

Published: Friday 15 November 1996

-- There are still many countries, mainly in Africa, where more than 30 per cent of women give birth to their first child before the age of 18. The maternal death rate is three times higher for teenage mothers than for women in the age group of 20-29. Teenage pregnancy also closes the opportunity for education and training. The younger a woman is when she first gives birth, the longer her total child bearing period and more children she is likely to have. But demographic health surveys conducted show a change in women's views about 'ideal family size'. In almost half of the 20 nations for which data are available, women want at least one child less than they did 10 to 15 years ago.

Young moms
Percentage of women become mothers by the age of 18

           %aged 20-24 mothers by 18
Niger 53 Indonesia 19
Guinea 49 Namibia 18
mali 47 Domonican Rep 17
Cameroon 46 Pakistan 17
Liberia 44 Sudan 17
Uganda 42 Ecuador 16
Malawi 38 Paraguay 16
Nigeria 35 Egypt 15
Senegal 34 Colombia 13
Zambia 34 Trinidad/Tob 13
Burkina Faso 32 Peru 12
Madagascar 31 Turkey 11
Togo 30 Thailand 9
Guatemala 28 Rwanda 8
Kenya 28 Burandi 8
Tanzania 28 Jordan 8
Yemen 27 Philippines 8
Botswana 26 Morocco 7
Zimbawe 25 Sri Lanka 5
Ghana 23 Tunisia 3
Mexico 22 Viet Nam 3
Bolivia 19 Source:DHS surveys

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