Is there a mortality differential by marital status among women in South Africa? A study on a rural sub-district of Mpumalanga Province in the North-East South Africa

Mercy Shoko


Abstract Using longitudinal data collected between 1999 and 2006 for Agincourt Demographic Surveillance Area (ADSA), the paper examines the effect of marital status and co-residence on mortality of women aged between 20 and 80. The Cox Proportional Hazard Model is used to investigate the relationship between mortality and marital status, woman’s country of origin, co-residence, and marital duration for married women. The number of months the husband was resident in the ADSA is used as a proxy for co-residence. Divorced/separated and widowed women had a higher probability of dying compared to those who were married. In addition, being married to a migrant partner increased the woman’s probability of dying. Thus the study concludes that marital status and co-residence both affect mortality.

Keywords: Marital status; married; previously married; mortality

Resumé Utilisant des données longitudinales rassemblées entre 1999 et 2006 pour le Domaine d’Etudes Démographiques d’Agincourt, cet article étudie l’effet de l’état matrimonial et de la co-résidence sur le taux de mortalité des femmes âgées entre 20 et 80 ans. Nous avons utilisé le modèle des risques proportionnels de Cox pour examiner la relation entre la mortalité et l’état matrimoniale, la co-résidence, le pays natal de la femme et la durée du mariage pour les femmes mariées. Le nombre de mois que le mari était résident dans le Domaine d’Etudes Démographiques d’Agincourt est utilisé comme variable de la co-résidence. Les femmes divorcées/séparées ou veuves ont une probabilité de mortalité plus élevée que les femmes mariées. En plus, être marié à un partenaire migrant a augmenté la probabilité de mortalité de la femme. Ainsi l’étude conclut que l’état matrimonial et la co-résidence affectent tous les deux la mortalité.


Marital status; married; previously married; mortality

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

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