TABLE 7-8 Percentage of Women Ages 20-24 Ever Married by Age 18, by Years of Schooling and Regiona (Weighted Averages)

Region

Population Represented

Years of Schooling

0-3

4-7

8+

Africa

Eastern/Southern Africa

91.7

51.2

38.6

12.6

Western/Middle Africab

75.2

70.5

36.8

14.1

Asia

South-central/South-eastern Asiac

28.0

55.7

44.0

17.3

Latin America and Caribbean

Caribbean/Central America

21.0

55.5

43.9

14.7

South America

74.1

41.7

30.3

10.8

Middle East

Western Asia/Northern Africad

49.6

38.9

25.6

6.4

TOTAL—All DHS

34.4

53.2

37.6

13.5

aFormer Soviet Asia excluded because too few women with less than 8+ years of schooling.

bGabon excluded; data on women unavailable at time of this analysis.

cIndia and Pakistan excluded; lack the all women weight.

dYemen excluded; lacks the all women weight.

NOTES: For source of regional groupings and population data for weighted averages, see Table 7-1. Further detail can be found in Appendix A.

SOURCES: Demographic and Health Surveys tabulations from 44 countries, 1990-2001. See Appendix Table 7-4 for list of countries.

or social shifts, such as the expansion of education, or ideological shifts, such as a change in norms regarding very early marriage, cannot fully explain the changes observed.

There is a substantial literature on the forces behind postponement of marriage among young women, although much of it is speculative, rather than based on rigorous analysis of data. For example, in her discussion of the increase in the age at first marriage among women in Africa, Hertrich argues that, in contrast to earlier generations, there is now a “recognition of a social status for women other than that of wife and mother” (Hertrich, 2002:12). In the two sections that follow we focus on factors, which may be associated with changes in age of marriage, that we are able to address more systematically—namely, education and labor force participation.10

10  

For a discussion of potential determinants of female age at marriage besides education and labor force participation, see Mensch, Singh, and Casterline (2005).



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