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The effects of growing-season drought on young women’s life course transitions in a sub-Saharan context
Authors: Liliana Andriano and Julia Behrman
Source: Journal of Demography, DOI:
Topic(s): Environment and natural resources
Environmental health
Spatial analysis
Women's health
Country: Africa
  Multiple African Countries
Published: OCT 2020
Abstract: In spite of the vast importance of weather shocks for population processes, limited work has investigated the micro-level processes through which weather shocks influence the transition to adulthood in low-income contexts. This paper provides a conceptual overview and empirical investigation of how weather shocks impact the timing, sequencing, and characteristics of young women’s life course transitions in low-income rural settings. Drawing on the case of Malawi, we combine repeated cross-sections of georeferenced Demographic and Health Survey data with georeferenced climate and crop calendar data to assess how growing-season drought shocks affect young women’s life course transitions. Discrete-time event history analyses indicate that in this context, exposure to growing-season drought in adolescence has an accelerating effect on young women’s transitions into first unions—both marriage and cohabitation—and into first births within unions.