Child Fostering & Ideal Family Size: Evidence from Uganda

Cassandra Cotton, Arizona State University

Women who have exceeded their ideal family size (IFS) may find themselves caring for more children than desired. In the absence of prenatal controls of family size, mothers may choose to foster out children to reduce the burden of childrearing, particularly in contexts where fostering is common. Using six rounds of Demographic and Health Surveys collected in Uganda between 1988 and 2016, I explore the relationship between exceeding IFS and child fostering, proposing that fostering may serve to manage excess fertility and that this relationship may change as actual and desired fertility declines. Preliminary analyses suggest that the probability of fostering out children has always been significantly higher among women who have exceed IFS versus women who have not exceeded. Future analyses will look at how exceeding IFS influences the number and proportion of a woman’s children are fostered, and how this may differ for sons and daughters.

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  Presented in Session 140. Understand Changing Patterns of Unions, Families, Households: Factors and Consequences on Child and Elders