Nuptiality Trends in Africa during the Past 50 Years

VĂ©ronique Hertrich, Institut National d'etudes Demographiques (INED)

Statistical tables on marital status were gathered for about 250 census and national surveys to describe nuptiality trends over the past 5 decades in Africa. Male and female ages at first marriage and time spent out of union as ever-married are analyzed to identify changes in African marriage, in particular, in regional differences and in sex-specific patterns of nuptiality. While trends in male nuptiality are balanced, results confirm the general and sustained increase in female age at first marriage. As a result, the gap between male and female age at first marriage has declined. Changes in the time spent out of union during adulthood are less important but they confirm that the main features of African nuptiality regimes are weakening. However, there are regional differences in the magnitude and speed of the changes, dramatic in the Northern and the Southern parts of Africa but slight in the Sahelian countries.

Presented in Session 138: Family Change in Africa and Latin America