Background: Desired family size, the number of children wanted in one’s lifetime, is one of the major factors influencing the population dynamics. Knowledge of factors influencing the desired family size is crucial in regulating the population growth. This study assesses the desired family size and its determinants among Ethiopian women.
Methods: The study was based on the 2016 Ethiopian Demographic and Health Survey (EDHS) data. A total of 13,941 women with complete information were considered in the study. Count regression models, a family of generalized linear models, were used to identify determinant factors for the desired number of children among women in Ethiopia.
Results: Results showed that the average number of children per women was 4.5. The highest average was recorded in Somali region (10.58) and the lowest in Addis Ababa city administration (3.56). The random intercept negative binomial regression model was found to be the most appropriate model for the data. Women’s age, household head, contraception using, wealth index, women’s education, religion, marital status, husband’s work, family size and age at first marriage were significantly associated with the desired number of children by women at reproductive age. The study also showed that there was significant regional variation in desired number of children among Ethiopian women.
Conclusions: Variables such as women’s age and family size were positively associated with the desired number of children by women at reproductive age while age at first marriage, contraception using, wealth index and women’s education were negatively associated with the desired number of children by women. Women who attained higher level of education preferred small family size compared to women with no formal education. Desire for children was high among mothers from rural areas, women in the poorest economic level and woman having no work. Keywords: Desired number of children, statistical weight, EDHS, Count regression models, multilevel analysis.