Culture and fertility in Kenya

Wamucii Njogu, Northeastern Il. University

The speed and timing of the African fertility transition was unexpected by the demographic community. Using Kenya as a case example, this paper will conduct content analysis of fertility literature to show that the undue emphasis placed on the role of cultural norms and values on demographic behavior by pioneers and influential leaders of African demography contributed to this phenomenon. Moreover, the literature is premised onthe assumption that Africans have little or no agency, an idea that led to the belief African cultures were relatively impervious to social, economic and > political changes. Kenya is an excellent case study because the pre-decline > fertility rates generated a great deal of literature exploring the prospects for the decline. This project has important implications on the HIV/AIDS debate in Africa because cultural norms have already been invoked to explain the high infection rates and the prospects for its decline.

Presented in Poster Session 3