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Open Access Research article

Determinants of fertility in rural Ethiopia: the case of Butajira Demographic Surveillance System (DSS)

Wubegzier Mekonnen* and Alemayehu Worku

Author Affiliations

School of Public Health, College of Health Sciences, Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

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BMC Public Health 2011, 11:782  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-11-782

Published: 10 October 2011



Fertility is high in rural Ethiopia. Women in the reproductive age group differed in various characteristics including access to food and encounter to drought which requisite the assessment of determinants of fertility.


Reproductive age women were recruited from a DSS, the Butajira DSS database. A DHS maternity history questionnaire was administered on 9996 participants. Data quality was assured besides ethical clearance. Poisson regression crude and adjusted Incidence Rate Ratio with 95 Confidence Interval were used to identify determinants of fertility.


Delayed marriage, higher education, smaller family, absence of child death experience and living in food-secured households were associated with small number of children. Fertility was significantly higher among women with no child sex preference. However, migration status of women was not statistically significant.


Policy makers should focus on hoisting women secondary school enrollment and age at first marriage. The community should also be made aware on the negative impact of fertility on household economy, environmental degradation and the country's socio-economic development at large.