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DIVORCE IN ETHIOPIA: THE IMPACT OF EARLY MARRIAGE AND CHILDLESSNESS
DANA TILSON a1andULLA LARSEN a1 a1 Department of Population and International Health, Harvard School of Public Health, 655 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA
Forty-five per cent of first marriages in Ethiopia end in divorce within 30 years, and two-thirds of women who divorce do so within the first 5 years of marriage. This paper looks at two factors that may have an impact on the risk of divorce in Ethiopia: early age of first marriage, and childlessness within the first marriage. Data used were from the 1990 National Family and Fertility Survey conducted by the Government of Ethiopia. A total of 8757 women of reproductive age (15–49) were analysed. Life table analysis was used to determine the median age at first marriage, first birth and the median duration of marriage. Cox models were analysed to determine the differentials of divorce. The results of this analysis showed that both early age at marriage and childlessness have a significant impact on the risk of divorce. An inverse relationship was found between age at marriage and risk of divorce. Having a child within the first marriage also significantly reduced the risk of divorce. In addition, several cultural and socioeconomic variables were significant predictors of divorce.