October 11th, 2013 | Posted in Marriage/Family
by Carl Haub, senior demographer
The preliminary report of the 2013 Gambia Demographic and Health Survey (DHS), the first DHS to be taken in the country, shows that the total fertility rate (TFR, or the average number of children per woman) was 5.6. But the TFR ranged from 4.7 in urban areas to 6.8 in rural areas. A 2010 Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) found very similar rates. Thus, there has been no appreciable change in the TFR in recent years. The desire for large families remains high in Gambia. But the country’s national health policy calls for a reduction in the TFR to 4.6 by 2015.
The use of family planning is quite low in Gambia. Among currently married women, 9 percent reported using some form of family planning, with 8 percent using a modern method. Comparable figures in the 2010 MICS were 13.3 and 6.6 percent, respectively. Temporary modern methods (such as injectables and the pill), often used to space rather than limit the number of births, were the most commonly used.
As in other sub-Saharan countries, infant and child mortality has been declining in Gambia for many years. The infant mortality rate was 34 deaths to infants below age 1 per 1,000 live births (in the five-year period before the survey) and 54 per 1,000 live births among all children below age 5. In the 10-14 year period before the survey, the infant mortality rate was 50 and the mortality rate for children under 5 was 89.
Republic of The Gambia, Gambia Demographic and Health Survey 2013 Preliminary Report
Gambia Bureau of Statistics