Ibadan Journal of the Social Sciences
Volume 6, No. 1, 2008
Pages 1-11

DOI: 10.36108/ijss/8002.60.0110

Polygyny, Marital Stability and Fertility Patterns in Southwestern Nigeria

John Lekan Oyefara

Department of Sociology, Faculty of Social Sciences
University of Lagos, Akoka, Yaba, Lagos


This article examines the effect of form and stability of marriage on the fertility level of women. Using primary data collected in a Yoruba society(Ila-Orangun, Osun State), the results showed that the average number of children ever born by women in polygynous unions was slightly higher than what obtained among women in monogamy. Furthermore, there was a significant relationship between marital stability and fertility level. Women who had experienced unstable marriages had a higher level of fertility, compared with women in stable conjugal unions. In conclusion, the study showed that form and stability of marriage significantly affect the level of fertility in southwestern Nigeria. Thus, policy makers in the region should formulate anti-polygyny policies that support stable marriage in order to reduce the existing level of fertility among women in the region.

Keywords: Polygyny, monogamy, fecundity, nuptiality, frequency of coitus

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