Too young to be a wife! analysis of the factors influencing child marriages and its influence on the preferred number of children among women in Zambia.

James Mulenga, Mulenga Chonzi Mulenga, Bwalya Bupe Bwalya, Christabel Ngongola-Reinke


Context/Background: Zambia has one of the highest rates of child marriages in the world. This study sought to establish the determinants of child marriage in rural and urban areas of Zambia, and to determine the influence of child marriage on fertility preferences of women in Zambia.

Data source and methods: The study utilized data from the 2013-2014 Zambia Demographic Health Survey.  Data was analysed using the Binary Logistic and Poisson regression models.

Results: Timing of conception, age at first sex, region of residence, education level of respondent and their partners, and family size were significant predictors of child marriages in urban areas. In rural areas, region of residence, age at fist sex, education level of respondent and their partners, and family size had significant influence on child marriages. The study further found that women who got married below the age of 18 preferred a higher number of children.

Conclusion: The study established that various factors influence child marriages in urban and rural Zambia and in turn child marriages influence the preferred number of children. The findings suggest a multipronged approach to addressing the root cause of the problem.


Child marriage, Logistic, Poisson, Incident Rate Ratio, fertility.

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

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