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Determinants of declining marriage in South Africa:1995-2006

Grace Kumchulesi, University of Malawi

In light of the decline in marriage rates documented for post-apartheid South Africa, I ask “why the distribution of marriages has changed over time among African women”. Using the Blinder-Oaxaca type decomposition analysis, I decompose declining marriage into parts explained by differences in the individual characteristics and coefficients. Datasets used were from the October Household Surveys, 1995-1999 and the September wave of the Labour Force Surveys, 2000-2006. The results show that the effects of differences in coefficients outweigh those of differences in characteristics. However, this conclusion is not general across all the cross-sections. In years 2001 to 2003, for example, the characteristics effect was predominant in explaining the gap when either of year 2006 or year coefficients is used in the counterfactuals. Supporting the women's economic independence hypothesis, the estimates for education and labour force participation education were found to predominantly contribute to the explained portion of the marriage decline.

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Presented in Poster Session 1