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Value of Children, Child Labor, and Fertility Preferences in Urban Nigeria

Dimeji Togunde, Samantha Newman


This paper examines the value of children as perceived by parents and explores the link between child labor and fertility preferences in urban Nigeria. We provide a unique perspective to utilize the Caldwells Wealth Flow Theory by considering the connection between current economic benefit of children and parents fertility intentions. This is a departure from previous studies that tend to relate future benefit of children at parents old age to current or future fertility behavior. Findings indicate that sons are valued for their future patriarchal status and their kinship role in continuing the family name. Daughters are more likely than sons to be relied upon for financial support at old age, and are cherished for their potential roles as future mothers. The results also suggest that labor contribution of children has become a central part of the fertility equation in urban areas. Indeed, a significant proportion of parents had children because of expected labor contribution of those children. Parents wanted more children because of the financial support of current children. Others would expect additional children yet to be born to contribute to the household income. Findings have implications for regulating child labor and fertility in Nigeria.

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West Africa Review. ISSN: 1525-4488 (online).
Editors: Adeleke Adeeko, Nkiru Nzegwu, Tejumola Olaniyan and Olufemi Taiwo; Book Editor: .

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