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Early Marriage Among Women in Developing Countries
Susheela Singh and Renee Samara
International Family Planning Perspectives
Vol. 22, No. 4 (Dec., 1996), pp. 148-157+175
Published by: Guttmacher Institute
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2950812
Page Count: 11
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A study using data from 40 Demographic and Health Surveys shows that a substantial proportion of women in developing countries continue to marry as adolescents. Overall, 20-50% of women marry or enter a union by age 18, and 40-70% do so by their 20th birthday. Early marriage is most prevalent in Sub-Saharan Africa and in South Asia, and least common in North Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia. Women aged 20-24 are less likely to have married by age 20 than are women aged 40-44; the differential is at least 10 percentage points in most countries and reaches 30-40 percentage points in some countries. Education and age at first marriage are strongly associated both at the individual level and at the societal level: A woman who has attended secondary school is considerably less likely to marry during adolescence, and in countries with a higher proportion of women with a secondary education, the proportion of women who marry as adolescents is lower.
International Family Planning Perspectives © 1996 Guttmacher Institute