Determinants of Early Marriage Among Young Women in Homa Bay County in Kenya
Early marriage is a matter of great apprehension, but there is limited information in Kenya on its pervasiveness and its impact and there is very little county data about marriages for young women under 15 years. This study describes marriage among young women, establishes the occurrence of early marriage and determines the most important factors linked with early marriage among young women in Homa Bay County. It draws data from a 2007 population based study with a sample of 1,956 young women aged 10–24 years. Bivariate and multivariate analyses are used to explore the determinants of early marriage. Thirty-three percent of girls were ever-married. Logistic regression analysis suggests that age at first sexual intercourse, a young woman’s highest level of education, and payment of bride price are the most important factors that determine early marriage in the county. The likelihood of adolescent girls with no or lower primary education being married early is 3.8 times higher than that of girls with secondary or higher education. The likelihood of girls with upper primary education being married early is 1.9 times higher than that of girls with secondary or higher education. The likelihood of respondents who had sex for the first time aged 10 to 14 years to get married early was 15.8 times higher than those who started sexual activity at older ages of 18 to 24 years. The likelihood of girls who had sex for the first time aged 15 to 17 years to get married early was seven times higher than for those who had first sex at 18 to 24 years. The likelihood of girls from families that received bride price of being married early was 1.6 times higher than that of girls who did not receive bride price. The study recommends urgent implementation of early marriage prevention programs targeting girls aged 10 to 17 who are most vulnerable, and further research to investigate the variables that show no significance in this study.
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