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Factors affecting age at first marriage in Malawi

Grace Kumchulesi, University of Malawi
Martin Enoch Palamuleni, North-West University, South Africa

Early marriage is associated with poor demographic outcomes such as high fertility and mortality and low contraceptive use. In Malawi marriage could be described as early and universal. This study seeks to examine the factors associated with early marriages in Malawi. Data from the 2000 and 2004 Malawi Demographic and Health Survey (MDHS) are used. Univariate, bivariate and hazard proportional model were used to assess the association between age at first marriage and selected socio-economic factors. The results indicate that marriage in Malawi takes place early and the mean age at first marriage is 17.4 years. Age, education, religion, ethnicity and region are found to be the important variables in explaining age at marriage. The policy implications of the results are discussed. These factors should be considered in designing new strategies to combat rapid population growth and reduce both fertility and mortality in the country.

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Presented in Session 54: Fertility, marriage, and women’s labor force participation