Population Association of America (PAA) 2013 Annual Meeting
"The influence of female headship on adolescent transitions to adulthood in rural Malawi"
Female headship, generally equivalent to single motherhood, has been observed to have a harmful effect on children in many parts of the world. In sub-Saharan Africa however, female headship has been shown to be positively associated with a variety of children's outcomes. Using longitudinal data on 877 boys and 861 girls from the Malawi Schooling and Adolescent Survey, we estimate Cox proportional hazards models to investigate the influence of living in a female-headed household at baseline on school dropout, first marriage and first birth. For girls, female headship is associated with lower hazards of school leaving, marriage and pregnancy relative to comparable adolescents in male-headed households. For boys, the findings are mixed; female headship is associated with lower dropout and marriage risk but not with first birth. The findings suggest that female-headed households, despite significantly lower socioeconomic status may be able to slow adolescent transitions to adulthood, particularly for girls.
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