Proximate determinants of teenage fertility in Zimbabwe.
Although Zimbabwe is amongst few African countries which have been experiencing a decline in fertility, teenage fertility has not been stable since 1988 to date. This study sought to examine proximate determinants of teenage fertility in order to assess why there was an increase in teenage childbearing in the period 2005 to 2011. Therefore, the study seeks the achieve the following main aims; Describe the trends and levels of teenage fertility in Zimbabwe from the year 1988 to 2011, determine the major determinants of teenage fertility in Zimbabwe and establish the effects of the proximate determinants on teenage childbearing. The examination of the proximate determinants of teenage fertility will be achieved through the use of the Zimbabwe Demographic Health Survey 2010-11. This study uses the model introduced by Bongaarts (1978; 1982) as its theoretical framework. From Bongaarts (1978, 1982) model, the proximate determinants investigated in this study are marital status, contraception, abortion and age at first sex. In addition, socio-economic variables which are educational attainment, wealth index and geographical variables namely, place of residence (rural and urban) and province are also analysed. These determinants are examined through the use of multiple logistic regression model, Kaplan Meier Survival estimator and Cox Proportional Hazard model. The results obtained from these models show that marital status is the leading proximate determinant contributing to increased teenage fertility. This is followed by contraception usage and age at first sex. The finding that contraception use is positively associated with teenage childbearing contradicts the theoretical framework of this study. This might be attributed to lack of precise data on the timing of contraception use relative to childbearing among teenagers. In congruency with the Bongaarts (1978; 1982) Framework, abortion was found to be an inhibitor of teenage fertility and educational attainment was found to be the main socio-economic variable which is associated with reduced teenage childbearing. Therefore, the research suggests that policies and programs aimed at decreasing fertility during teenage years should be directed towards promoting female education beyond the primary level. In addition, sex education in schools must be made compulsory and restrictions on access to contraceptives by never married teenagers must be removed.