Multilevel modelling of the determinants of early marriage among women aged 20-49 years in South Africa

Shirley ML Mathabatha, Mluleki Tsawe


Early marriage is a societal problem that affects many young women in developing countries. There are not many studies which have focused on the determinants of early marriage in South Africa. This study aimed to examine multilevel determinants of early marriage among women in South Africa. We used cross-sectional data from the 2016 South Africa Demographic and Health Survey. We found that age, level of education, spousal/partner educational differences, age at first sex, parity, household wealth, community poverty, place of residence, and province were statistically associated with early marriage. We also found that women with primary education, women from poor households, from Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Gauteng, and Free State had higher odds of early marriage. Our findings underline the need for public awareness campaigns, geared towards teaching rural communities about the various laws that protect children from early marriage and related practices. (Afr J Reprod Health 2023; 27 [8]: 83-94)

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