Muslim religion or ethnicity as hindering factors in the lagging Ethiopian rural transition? The complex web of social, cultural, and community factors

Charles H Teller, Population Reference Bureau (PRB) and Addis Ababa University
Kola A. Oyediran, JSI Research and Training Institute
Tesfayi Gebreselassie, Macro International Inc.

Being the two most populated SSA countries, there are 34% Muslim in Ethiopia and around 50 % in Nigeria. Earlier studies conducted in India, Israel and former Soviet Union, where Muslims lived as a minority, suggest that Muslim women have had higher fertility than adherents of other religions. However, little evidence is available from studies conducted in sub-Saharan Africa, where status in rural areas of majority Christian regions may have affected their reproductive behavior. In the past 20 years, fertility in Nigeria and Ethiopia has declined mainly in urban areas and among women with secondary-level education. In rural areas, irrespective of religion, whether Muslim are in a majority or in minority, there appears to be little reduction in marital fertility, as TFR there remains at over 6.0. We explore the interaction effects of majority-minority status and fertility of Muslim women, as well as trends in gender inequality and women’s empowerment.

Presented in Poster Session 5: Contexts