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Polygyny and Family Planning in sub-Saharan Africa

Judith E. Brown
Studies in Family Planning
Vol. 12, No. 8/9 (Aug. - Sep., 1981), pp. 322-326
Published by: Population Council
DOI: 10.2307/1965668
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1965668
Page Count: 5
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Polygyny and Family Planning in sub-Saharan Africa
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Abstract

The proportion of married persons in sub-Saharan Africa who are polygynous varies widely among nations and tribes, and it is not clear whether the practice is increasing or decreasing. Polygyny is reported less frequently in towns than in rural areas; polygynous urban marriages may be sanctioned by tradition but not by law and thus are not likely to be reported on demographic surveys. Polygyny may be chosen for a variety of reasons, including cultural, economic, prestige, reproductive, and sexual. Evidence suggests that polygynous women may desire fewer children than monogamous women and may not need contraceptives as early in the postpartum period.

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