Comparison of the Relationship between Women’s Empowerment and Fertility between Single-child and Multi-child Families

Tahereh Saberi, Soheila Ehsanpour, Behzad Mahaki, Shahnaz Kohan


Background: The reduction in fertility and increase in the number of single‑child families in Iran will result in an increased risk of population aging. One of the factors affecting fertility is women’s empowerment. This study aimed to evaluate the relationship between women’s empowerment and fertility in single‑child and multi‑child families.

Materials and Methods: This case‑control study was conducted among 350 women (120 who had only 1 child as case group and 230 who had 2 or more children as control group) of 15–49 years of age in Isfahan, Iran, in 2016. For data collection, a 2‑part questionnaire was designed. Data were analyzed using independent t‑test, Chi‑square test, and logistic regression analysis.

Results: The difference between average scores of women’s empowerment in the case group 54.08 (9.88) and control group 51.47 (8.57) was significant (p = 0.002). Simple logistic regression analysis showed that under diploma education, compared to postgraduate education, (OR = 0.21, p = 0.001) and being a housewife, compared to being employed, (OR = 0.45, p = 0.004) decreased the odds of having only 1 child. Multiple logistic regression results showed that the relationship between women’s empowerment and fertility was not significant (p = 0.265).

Conclusions: Although women in single‑child families were more empowered, this was not the main reason for their preference to have only 1 child. In fact, educated and employed women postpone marriage and childbearing and limit fertility to only 1 child despite their desire.


Fertility, Iran, single-child family, women’s empowerment

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