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Determinants of early marriage among married women in nine high fertility sub-Saharan African countries: a multilevel analysis of recent demographic and health surveys
Authors: Tadele Biresaw Belachew, Wubshet Debebe Negash, Getachew Teshale Kefale, Tesfahun Zemene Tafere and Desale Bihonegn Asmamaw
Source: BMC Public Health, Volume 22, DOI:
Topic(s): Fertility
Women's health
Country: Africa
  Multiple African Countries
Published: DEC 2022
Abstract: Background: Early marriage is global issue that seriously harms women’s personal development and rights. Regarding this, information about married women’s early marriage is inadequate in the world, including sub-Saharan Africa; therefore, this study aimed to assess the early marriage of women in the top nine highly fertile SSA countries. Methods: Data for this study was obtained from the most recent Demographic and Health Surveys. A total weighted sample of 121,077 married reproductive-age women was included. A multilevel mixed-effect binary logistic regression model was fitted to identify the significant associated factors of early marriage. As a final step, the Adjusted Odds Ratio (AOR) was used with a confidence interval of 95% in determining statistical significance. Results: Overall prevalence of early marriage was 55.11% (95% CI: 54.8, 55.4) and ranged from 28.11% in Burundi to 80.77% in Niger. The factors significantly associated with early marriage were women’s educational status; primary education (AOR?=?0.39; 95% CI: 0.38, 0.41), secondary and higher (AOR?=?0.1; 95% CI: 0.09, 0.11), employed (AOR?=?0.73; 95% CI: 0.71, 0 .75), classified as rich wealth index level (AOR?=?0.87; 95% CI: 0.85, 0.91), a number of family size = 7 (AOR?=?1.28; 95% CI: 1.23, 1.33), community-level poverty, (AOR?=?1.28; 95% CI: 1.23, 1.33) and rural residency (AOR?=?1.16;95% CI: 1.12, 1.21). Conclusion: Marriage before the age of 18 is moderately high in high-fertility countries. Therefore, the respective countries government should give due attention to access to education, and encourage the participation of women in making marriage-related decisions, especially those residing in rural areas.