The Mass Media and Family Planning in Kenya

Charles F. Westoff, Guttmacher Institute German Rodriguez, Guttmacher Institute

First published online:

Abstract / Summary

Analyses of data from the 1989 Kenya Demographic and Health Survey demonstrate a strong statistical association between women's reports of having heard or seen messages about family planning through various media outlets and their use of contraceptives and their reproductive preferences. While 15% of women who say they have neither seen nor heard media messages on family planning are currently using a contraceptive method, this proportion rises to 25% among those who have heard radio messages, to 40% among those exposed to both radio and print messages and to 50% among those exposed to radio, print and television messages. These associations persist even when a variety of life-cycle, residential and socioeconomic controls are imposed, so that women exp osed to no messages report an average of 5.5 children as their ideal family size, while those exposed to three types of messages report 4.7 children as ideal. Given the persistence of these strong relationships, the results suggest that the mass media can have an important effect on reproductive behavior.

(International Family Planning Perspectives, 21:26-31 & 36, 1995)

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