Journal Article

Poverty, marriage timing, and transitions to adulthood in Nepal

This study examines the influence of household poverty during early childhood on schooling, workforce participation, and early marriage among adolescent girls in Nepal. Longitudinal data from the two-wave panel of the Nepal Living Standards Survey (NLSS) were used to examine these relationships. For 5-9-year-old girls contacted in NLSS I and again when aged 13-17 in NLSS II (N = 400), multinomial logit regression estimates indicate that household poverty during early childhood is associated with greater likelihood of marrying early or joining the workforce rather than remaining in school. Analyzing the data by household wealth quintiles reveals that these associations are largest for the second-poorest quintile, not the poorest. This study highlights the role of household rather than individual characteristics in adolescent girls’ decisionmaking.