Determinants of age at first marriage in Kenya: a comparative analysis between men and women
Makheti, Felix M
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The objective of the study was to examine the determinants of age at first marriage among men and women in Kenya. Specifically, the study sought to establish the timing of marriage among men and women in Kenya; the social economic, socio cultural and demographic factors determining age at marriage in Kenya; and gender variations in the association between marriage timing and socio-economic/socio-cultural/demographic variables; and to determine whether there is any variation in the outlined associations. To achieve the above objectives, several hypotheses were tested by applying the survival models to male and female data drawn from the 2003 Kenya Demographic and Health Survey. The study was guided by the 1988 United Nations framework for the study of marriage timing. The dependent variable was duration to first marriage measured in single years. Eight explanatory variables were utilized in the study and these included; highest level of education completed, type of place of residence, place of residence (region), wealth index, employment status, type of religion, ethnic group and age at first sex. Life table methods were utilized in the analysis to estimate the differentials in the median age at first marriage and establish the factors influencing age at first marriage among men and women in Kenya. Life table analysis considered ever married men and women separately and estimated their median ages as 24.1 and 19.0 respectively. Important conclusions can be drawn from this study. Differentials in median age at first marriage • by various background characteristics and by sex are evident. For instance men had a higher median age at first marriage. Also educated men and women had a higher median age at first mamage. Multivariate life table (Cox hazard regression) results revealed that level of education, place of residence, region of residence, wealth index, employment status, type of religion, ethnicity and age at first sex are significantly associated with age at first marriage among women. All the above variables apart from place of residence and employment status were significant among men. The findings also reveal gender variation in the associations. The study recommends policies to put more emphasis on girl child education to prevent the risk of early marriages. At program level, the study recommends formation and/or strengthening of programs targeting youth sexuality with a focus on reducing age at first sex. The study also proposes programs to address poverty particularly among the poor male and female youth which is a paramount catalyst for early marriage. Lastly, the study recommends further research specifically longitudinal and qualitative to help focus attention on important unstudied nuptiality areas such psychosocial or individual factors influencing marriage in the marriage market.
CitationA thesis submitted to the population studies and research institute as partial fulfillment of the requirement for the award of master of arts (population studies), university of Nairobi
Institute of population Studies and research