Divorce, remarriage, and children's outcomes in rural Malawi

Sophia Chae, University of Pennsylvania

A large literature exists on the consequences of divorce for children’s outcomes in the United States. Studies have generally found that children of divorced parents perform worse on a wide range of outcomes, including academic achievement, health, and psychological well-being. Although evidence exists that some Sub-Saharan African countries have high rates of marital instability as well as increasing rates of divorce, very few studies have explored the relationship between divorce and children’s outcomes in this region. In this paper, I will examine the consequences of divorce and remarriage on children’s health and educational outcomes in rural Malawi. Are children of divorced parents more likely to suffer worse outcomes than children in intact marriages? Do children whose parents remarry after divorce experience changes in these outcomes? To answer these questions, I will use three waves of data from the Malawi Longitudinal Study of Families and Health (MLSFH).

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Presented in Session 31: Trends and determinants in union dissolution