Determinants of Singlehood: a retrospective account by older single women in Lagos, Nigeria

Lorretta Favour Chizomam Ntoimo, Uche Isiugo-Abanihe


Although the population of older never married women in Nigeria is increasing considerably, negligible attention has been paid to this emerging social reality. This paper examined the determinants of singlehood from the life experience of never married women. Aspects of Giddens’ Structuration theory provided theoretical framework for the study. Empirical Data were drawn from twenty-seven In-depth Interviews, two Life Histories, and seven Focus Group Discussions conducted between 2010 and 2011 in Lagos, Nigeria with involuntary and childless never married women aged 30 and above. The major determinants of singlehood among them were drive for economic empowerment and financial independence, personal mate selection preference, marital experience of other women, cultural beliefs and practices, family background factors, and higher education. Increasing singlehood among women threatens Nigeria’s traditional nuptiality pattern of early and universal marriage and could become one of the most important components of demographic transition in 21st century Lagos.


Singlehood; Women; Marriage; Economic Empowerment; Lagos

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

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