Trends and determinants of female age at first marriage in Sub-Saharan Africa (1990-2014): What has changed?

Emmanuel O Amoo


The study analysed trends and determinants of female age at first marriage in Ghana, Kenya and Zambia using DHS datasets across defined survey horizons: 1990-1999, 2000-1999 and 2010-2014. The data analysis employed frequency distribution, cross tabulation and Cox proportional regression techniques. The results revealed female median age at first marriage as 17. The result showed a reduction in the proportion marrying at age ≤17 between 1990 and 2014 by 9.8% (Ghana), 6.2% (Kenya) and 7.2% (Zambia). Women with tertiary education and rich households had lower hazard ratio to marry at age ≤17 compared with those without education and from poor households (HR: 0.39, CI: 0.0.36-0.43) and (HR: 0.86, CI: 0.81-0.90) respectively. The study supports the use of child-marriage market model to heighten female age at first marriage through access to tertiary education. The boost in female education could be harnessed for sustainable development through provisions of job opportunities.


Female age at first marriage, child-marriage market, sub-Saharan Africa

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ISSN 2308-7854 (online); ISSN 0850-5780 (print)

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