The influence of perceptions of community norms on current contraceptive use among men and women in Ethiopia and Kenya

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The paper uses data from Ethiopia and Kenya to examine how perceptions of community norms differentially shape contraceptive use among men and women. Women whose current number of sons is lower than their perception of the community ideal had lower odds of reporting contraceptive use, while women whose own personal ideal number of sons is lower than the community ideal had greater odds of reporting contraceptive use. Men and women in Kenya were influenced more by their perception of their social network's approval of family planning than by their own approval of family planning. Results highlight the importance of place, conceptualized as the place-specific perceptions of fertility ideals, when conducting reproductive health research. Identification of people who use contraception in the face of pervasive pronatalist community norms presents a point for future intervention.

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