Fertility in Kenya declined from total fertility rate (TFR) 6.7 to 4.6 between 1989 and 2008/09. Initially, Western and Coast Provinces returned figures above and below the national average with TFR 8.1 and 5.4 respectively. Then fertility in Western Province declined substantially to TFR 5.6 while in Coast Province the decline was modest to TFR 4.8, above the national average in both provinces. I shall scrutinise this development by examining two rounds of qualitative case studies in rural villages in the two provinces, first in 1988–90 with a follow up in 2011. The analysis revealed that over time fewer children were born in the Western villages, but more in the Coast villages. The hypothesis is that differences in cultural (patriarchy and a mix of matriarchy and patriarchy) and religious (Christian and Muslim) legacies are crucial to understanding such disparities in childbearing. Attention is given to marriage, gender relations and female education.