Female Education, Labour Force Participation and Fertility: Evidence from Uganda

We use the Demographic and Health Survey 2006 to examine the relationship between female education and labour force participation and fertility rates for Uganda. Our results confirm the hypotheses that female education, especially at the secondary and post-secondary school levels, reduces fertility and increases the likelihood of females being engaged in the labour force. We also find that despite the near universal knowledge of family planning methods in Uganda and the importance of contraceptives in fertility reduction, their usage is limited to less than half of the women in Uganda. Reducing total fertility is expected to play an important role in achieving both the national development goals contained in the National Development Plan, and the Millennium Development Goals. However, changing behaviour takes a long time and requires the concerted efforts from various stakeholders, including the central government, health sector, district authorities and communities. The central government needs to provide the overall direction, political commitment and financial support. Measures that aim to educate women beyond primary school level are needed. The government programme to extend free education at the secondary level is therefore an important measure that may help reduce fertility