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Dynamics of Union Dissolution in Sub-Saharan Africa
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology. Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR), Germany; University of Malawi, Malawi.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3398-6024
Number of Authors: 22022 (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. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2022. Vol. 48, no 4, p. 1163-1201
National Category
Social and Economic Geography
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-213375DOI: 10.1111/padr.12529ISI: 000897211500001Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85143891904OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-213375DiVA, id: diva2:1724744
Available from: 2023-01-09 Created: 2023-01-09 Last updated: 2024-02-07Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Union-Fertility Nexus and Fertility Variation in Sub-Saharan Africa: The Role of Marital Dissolution and Repartnering
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Union-Fertility Nexus and Fertility Variation in Sub-Saharan Africa: The Role of Marital Dissolution and Repartnering
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
fertility, fertility transition, marriage, marriage formation, marital dissolution, repartnering, Sub-Saharan Africa, demographic methods
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociological Demography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-226359 (URN)978-91-8014-669-2 (ISBN)978-91-8014-670-8 (ISBN)
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)
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Supervisors
Available from: 2024-03-14 Created: 2024-02-07 Last updated: 2024-03-04Bibliographically approved

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