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The Contribution of Marital Dissolution and Repartnering to Fertility Variation in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Macro-level Perspective
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology. Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Germany; University of Malawi.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3398-6024
(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 [en]
Marriage, Union dissolution, Remarriage, Fertility transition, sub-Saharan Africa
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
Demography
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-226353OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-226353DiVA, id: diva2:1835756
Available from: 2024-02-07 Created: 2024-02-07 Last updated: 2024-03-15
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)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2024-03-14 Created: 2024-02-07 Last updated: 2024-03-04Bibliographically approved

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