Journal Article

Premarital fertility and marital timing in Malawi

In Malawi, Africa, the median age at first marriage is among the lowest on the continent and adolescent fertility rates are among the highest. Using high-frequency panel data from the country designed to follow single women and men into marriage, we examine the extent to which premarital fertility is associated with the timing of marriage. Two notable findings emerge. First, premarital fertility typically leads to a more rapid transition into marriage, compared to those not having had a premarital conception or birth, with controls. The effect is as strong for men as it is for women. Second, among women with premarital fertility, those who are wealthier, and have two parents alive, have lower odds of not marrying. Among men with premarital fertility, however, no patterns predict their subsequent marital outcomes. This study contributes to the literature on fertility and marriage in sub-Saharan Africa by including men in the analysis.

Published in a peer-reviewed journal of the Population Council.