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Has child marriage declined in sub-saharan Africa? An analysis of trends in 31 countries

Author: Alissa Koski, Shelley Clark, Arijit Nandi Organisation: Population and development review Year: 2017

This study used Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) from 31 countries to examine trends in child marriage in Africa. The authors estimated changes in child marriage rates over time by looking at the age of marriage among women who were born between the sixties and the nineties, and were aged 20 to 24 at the time of the surveys.

The paper shows clear evidence of a decrease in child marriage before 18 in many countries in sub-Saharan Africa. However, progress has been uneven across the continent. While child marriage has steadily decreased over time in some countries, others have seen little or no reduction.

This is especially true for child marriage before 15, which according to the estimates presented in this study, has not decreased in half of the countries examined. The authors call for more research to understand marriage patterns among younger adolescents.

TAGS: Research article Sub-Saharan Africa