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Union-Fertility Nexus and Fertility Variation in Sub-Saharan Africa: The Role of Marital Dissolution and Repartnering
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology. Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3398-6024
2024 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The role of marital dissolution and repartnering in shaping fertility patterns in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) has been largely overlooked, even though marital dissolution and repartnering are fundamental features of marriage dynamics in this region. This dissertation addresses this gap by using existing statistical and demographic techniques and developing new demographic methods to (i) examine the relationship between union dissolution and fertility at the micro level (Study I); (ii) assess the dynamics of union dissolution, including the levels of all-cause first union dissolution, the timing of first union dissolution, and the reproductive years spent outside of marriage due to union dissolution (Studies II & III); and (iii) analyze the influence of marital dissolution and repartnering on macro fertility patterns in SSA (Study IV). The analyses are mainly based on Demographic Health Survey data collected in 34 SSA countries since 1986. The findings show that marital dissolution is associated with reduced fertility at both the individual and the population level, and remarriage does not fully compensate for lost fertility at the individual level. The assessment of the dynamics of union dissolution indicates that union dissolution is common, it typically occurs at relatively early reproductive ages, and the number of reproductive years lost due to union dissolution is minimal. Furthermore, this dissertation documents that cross-country differences in union dissolution and repartnering rates account for 9.4% of cross-country fertility differences in SSA. In addition, the results show that changes in marital dissolution and repartnering rates and the fertility behaviour of women who experience these events mostly contributed to the slow pace of fertility decline in this region. For the SSA region (as a whole), fertility would have declined 1.24 times faster in the absence of such changes. These findings demonstrate that marital dissolution and repartnering are important drivers of fertility variation in SSA, and thus highlight the value of integrating these dynamics into the discourse on the union-fertility nexus and fertility variation in SSA and beyond.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Sociology, Stockholm University , 2024. , p. 43
Series
Dissertation series / Stockholm University Demography Unit, ISSN 1404-2304 ; 26
Keywords [en]
fertility, fertility transition, marriage, marriage formation, marital dissolution, repartnering, Sub-Saharan Africa, demographic methods
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociological Demography
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-226359ISBN: 978-91-8014-669-2 (print)ISBN: 978-91-8014-670-8 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-226359DiVA, id: diva2:1835945
Public defence
2024-04-08, Hörsal 3, hus B, Södra huset, Universitetsvägen 10 and online via Zoom: https://stockholmuniversity.zoom.us/j/69268838495, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2024-03-14 Created: 2024-02-07 Last updated: 2024-03-04Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Fertility decline in sub-Saharan Africa: Does remarriage matter?
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Fertility decline in sub-Saharan Africa: Does remarriage matter?
2022 (English)In: Population Studies, ISSN 0032-4728, E-ISSN 1477-4747, Vol. 76, no 2, p. 213-233Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The interplay between remarriage and fertility is among the most poorly documented subjects in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), despite remarriage being one of the fundamental aspects of marriage dynamics in this region. We use Demographic and Health Survey data from 34 countries in SSA to document the association between remarriage and fertility during the reproductive years and over the fertility transition. The findings show that in 29 countries, remarried women end up having fewer children than women in intact unions, despite attaining similar or higher levels of fertility at early reproductive ages. However, remarriage is found to have a positive effect on fertility in Sierra Leone. The effects of remarriage on fertility diminish as fertility declines, with smaller effects generally observed in countries that are relatively advanced in their fertility transition and larger effects found elsewhere. These findings shed light on the role that remarriage might play in country-level fertility declines.

Keywords
union dissolution, remarriage, marriage dynamics, childbearing, cohort fertility, fertility differentials, fertility transition, sub-Saharan Africa
National Category
Social Anthropology Economic History
Research subject
Demography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-226348 (URN)10.1080/00324728.2021.1933148 (DOI)000661720800001 ()34129806 (PubMedID)2-s2.0-85107827940 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2024-02-07 Created: 2024-02-07 Last updated: 2024-03-15Bibliographically approved
2. Indirect Estimation of the Timing of First Union Dissolution With Incomplete Marriage Histories
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Indirect Estimation of the Timing of First Union Dissolution With Incomplete Marriage Histories
2023 (English)In: Demography, ISSN 0070-3370, E-ISSN 1533-7790, Vol. 60, no 2, p. 411-430Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The lack of nationally representative data with detailed marriage histories in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) impedes a comprehensive understanding of essential aspects of union dissolution, such as the timing of first union dissolution, in these countries. We propose a method for estimating quantum-adjusted measures of the timing of first union dissolution from incomplete marriage histories. This method, indirect life table of first union dissolution (ILTUD), estimates the first union survival function from a simple tabulation of ever-married women by duration since first union, classified by union dissolution status (intact vs. dissolved first union). It then uses the relationships between life table functions to generate the distribution of marriages ending each year (⁠θt⁠) for a given marriage cohort. Using this distribution, ILTUD generates quantum-adjusted first union survival rates from which the percentiles of first union dissolution are calculated. ILTUD estimates are consistent with estimates produced using traditional statistical methods, such as the Kaplan–Meier estimator. In addition, ILTUD is simple to implement and has minimal data requirements, which are available in most nationally representative surveys. Thus, the ILTUD method has the potential to broaden our understanding of union dissolution dynamics in LMICs.

Keywords
Marriage, Union dissolution, Demographic methods, Survival analysis, Indirect estimation
National Category
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-217109 (URN)10.1215/00703370-10581068 (DOI)000967740400004 ()36825792 (PubMedID)2-s2.0-85151168186 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2023-05-23 Created: 2023-05-23 Last updated: 2024-02-07Bibliographically approved
3. Dynamics of Union Dissolution in Sub-Saharan Africa
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Dynamics of Union Dissolution in Sub-Saharan Africa
2022 (English)In: Population and Development Review, ISSN 0098-7921, E-ISSN 1728-4457, Vol. 48, no 4, p. 1163-1201Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Not only whether but also when a union ends and how long individuals remain unpartnered subsequently is consequential for social and demographic outcomes. However, in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), information about the timing of union dissolution and the reproductive time “lost” due to union dissolution is lacking. We close this gap by applying standard indirect demographic techniques in a novel way to Demographic Health Survey data collected in 34 SSA countries to document (i) the level and timing of all-cause union dissolution and (ii) the time women spend outside of marriage due to union dissolution during their reproductive life course. Results revealed that in 28 out of 34 countries, over one-fifth of first unions end within 15 years, and in 14 out of 34 countries, the proportion of first unions ending within 25 years exceeds 40 percent. The average marital duration at first union dissolution varies between 4.8 and 9.4 years. The pace of remarriage is rapid across all countries, with the average duration between first union dissolution and first remarriage ranging between 0.2 and 2.9 years. The overall reproductive years lost to union dissolution vary between 1.3 and 5.3 years, and account for 4.0–16.3 percent of the total reproductive life expectancy. We discuss the implications of these dynamics for fertility outcomes in SSA. 

National Category
Social and Economic Geography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-213375 (URN)10.1111/padr.12529 (DOI)000897211500001 ()2-s2.0-85143891904 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2023-01-09 Created: 2023-01-09 Last updated: 2024-02-07Bibliographically approved
4. The Contribution of Marital Dissolution and Repartnering to Fertility Variation in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Macro-level Perspective
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Contribution of Marital Dissolution and Repartnering to Fertility Variation in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Macro-level Perspective
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Research on the linkage between union dissolution, repartnering and fertility in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) has primarily centered on a micro-level perspective of this relationship. Thus, the role of union dissolution and repartnering in shaping macro-level fertility patterns in SSA is unclear. This study uses Demographic Health Survey data to address this gap. It examines (i) the macro-level relationship between union dissolution and repartnering rates with fertility, (ii) the contribution of union dissolution and repartnering rates to cross-country fertility variation, and (iii) the influence of union dissolution and repartnering on the pace of fertility decline. The findings demonstrate that union dissolution and repartnering dynamics are important drivers of macro fertility developments in SSA. Union dissolution rates are significantly negatively associated with fertility at the population level. However, it is the proportion of women who do not remarry following a first union dissolution rather than the proportion of women who remarry that matters. Furthermore, country heterogeneity in union dissolution and repartnering rates accounts for 9.4% of cross-country fertility differences. Changes in union dissolution and repartnering rates and the fertility behaviour of women who experience these events mostly contributed to the slow pace of fertility decline. The implications of these findings on union-fertility nexus and fertility variation scholarship in SSA are discussed. 

Keywords
Marriage, Union dissolution, Remarriage, Fertility transition, sub-Saharan Africa
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
Demography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-226353 (URN)
Available from: 2024-02-07 Created: 2024-02-07 Last updated: 2024-03-15

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