Discussion Paper no. 05-10


Making use of data obtained from a recent fieldwork conducted in five major urban centers of Ethiopia, this study examines attitudes of respondents on family size preferences to understand the fertility transition in urban areas. The methodology includes in-depth qualitative interviews and focus group discussions. Urban residents may not have a significantly different motivation as to why they would like to have children compared to people from rural areas. However, urban residents have a reproductive goal that take into account averting risks in the face of economic difficulties and tailoring preferences to achieve upward social mobility. Respondents give a reported family size which they see as the best they can support given their economic situation and beyond that number they were less certain to provide the kind of necessities they would like to give to their children There is emphasis on the wellbeing of relatively smaller number of children and attaining a certain level of investment in ones own human capital which are incompatible with large family size preferences.