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Patterns of Desired Fertility and Contraceptive Use in Kuwait

Nasra M. Shah, Makhdoom A. Shah and Zoran Radovanovic
International Family Planning Perspectives
Vol. 24, No. 3 (Sep., 1998), pp. 133-138
Published by: Guttmacher Institute
DOI: 10.2307/3038210
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3038210
Page Count: 6
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Patterns of Desired Fertility and Contraceptive Use in Kuwait
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Abstract

Context: Despite moderate levels of contraceptive use and a rapidly changing socioeconomic structure, fertility remains high in Kuwait. Little is known about what factors characterize women in a highly pronatalist society who have smaller families. Methods: Interviews were conducted from January to March 1994 with a random sample of 615 currently married, nonpregnant Kuwaiti women aged 15-49 in two of the country's five major residential areas. Regression analyses were used to determine the predictors of ideal family size, desire for another child and contraceptive use. Results: The mean ideal number of children desired by Kuwaiti women was 5.3. Fifty percent of the women were practicing contraception, mainly to space births. Forty-one percent said they wanted no more children, but only 45% of them were using a method. In comparison with non- Bedouins and women with fewer living children, Bedouins and women with more children de- sired significantly larger families and were significantly less likely to say they wanted to stop childbearing. Contraceptive use was significantly higher among non-Bedouins, women who had reached or exceeded their ideal number of children and those who had a primary or secondary education, and it rose with the number of living children and the husband's level of education. Conclusions: In a social setting that encourages high fertility, number of living children and eth- nic background are the most important factors in whether women want to stop childbearing and whether they use contraceptives, as well as in how many children they consider ideal.

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