Determinants of age at first marriage among women in Western Uganda

Peninah Agaba, Makerere University
Leonard K. Atuhaire, Makerere University
Gideon Rutaremwa, Makerere University

The main objective of the study was to investigate determinants of age at first marriage in Western Uganda. It was conducted, focusing on the persistent low age at first marriage in Uganda as a whole and in particular the Western Region, which has the lowest age at first marriage. The research used Uganda Demographic and Health Survey (2006) data and it focused on only women aged 15-49. The variables that were considered in this study were: district of the respondents, age, marital status, residence, occupation, education attainment, religion, wealth and ethnicity. The life table technique was employed to calculate median age at marriage, Log Rank chi-square to test for equality of the survival times and the proportional hazard model to study the effect of various socio-economic variables, and to identify the magnitude and significance of their effects on the timing of first marriage. The study revealed that the highest number of respondents was aged 15-19 (23.4%) and majority had attained primary education, 43.9% were Catholics, 36.7 % Protestants and most of them were in the middle wealth index. The study also indicated that most respondents were residing in rural areas (92.8%) and most of them were employed in the Agriculture sector (82.1%). The median age at fist marriage was 17.36 years. Age at first marriage varied by education level, occupation, ethnicity, birth cohort, district of residence and religion. However, it did not vary by place of residence and wealth index. It was recommended that; efforts be put in place to support girls’ education not only at primary level but also at secondary and higher institutions as the more years spent in school lead to delayed entry into marriage. Also, provide girls with basic life skills to enable them to avoid early marriage.

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Presented in Session 33: Women's status and marriage in developing countries