International Journal of
Sociology and Anthropology

  • Abbreviation: Int. J. Sociol. Anthropol.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2006-988X
  • DOI: 10.5897/IJSA
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 305

Full Length Research Paper

Socioeconomic determinants of age at marriage in Malawi

Martin E. Palamuleni
Population Unit, North West University, Private Bag X2046, Mmabatho 2735, South Africa.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 23 May 2011
  •  Published: 31 July 2011



Although age at first marriage has important demographic and health consequences for any population, no systematic analysis of changes in the timing of marriage has been conducted in Malawi. The purpose of this study is to identify factors affecting age at marriage among women in Malawi. This study used data obtained from 2000 and 2004 for Malawi Demographic and Health surveys. Univariate, bivariate and logistic regressions were employed to examine the relationship between age at marriage and selected background variables. Marriage in Malawi takes place early: nearly 70% of the respondents were married before the age of 18 years and the mean age at first marriage is 17.4 years. Age at marriage varies by age, region, rural-urban residence, religion, ethnicity and wealth. Early marriage and consequent early childbearing are related to high fertility, low status of women and adverse health risks for both the mother and child. The findings from logistics regressions indicate that age, region and education are the most important determinants of age at marriage in Malawi. The policy implications of the results are discussed.


Key words: Age at marriage, socio-economic, determinants, Malawi.