How Women Calculate on the Survival of their Children in the Context of HIV/AIDS: Strategies, Child Hoarding and Fertility Behaviors

Ana Carvalho, University of Southampton
Zoe Matthews, University of Southampton

This paper describes research on the relationship between women’s mortality perceptions and their fertility desires in high mortality settings with soaring AIDS prevalence. The research focuses on how to estimate women’s mortality perceptions, links this with desired family size, and looks at the possibility that couples use insurance strategies involving high fertility to compensate for possible future child loss. The study setting is Maputo City, Mozambique, where a specially designed quantitative survey of 800 respondents and in-depth interviews were carried out in 2003. Results suggest that women perceive mortality rates to be higher than they are in reality and that women use insurance strategies to a considerable extent in response to perceived child survivorship. Finally, women’s intention to change their fertility behavior due to AIDS is linked not only to AIDS awareness but also to women’s empowerment and women’s perceptions of child’s survivorship into adulthood.

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Presented in Session 81: Desire, Intention and Behavior in Fertility and Reproductive Health