Exploring the link between non-marital childbearing and entry into conjugal unions among South African women: Competing alternatives?

Nompumelelo Nzimande, University of KwaZulu-Natal

Changes in patterns of family formation in Sub-Saharan Africa in the past two decades have shown increased prevalence of unconventional families such as non-marital childbearing, lower marriage rates and escalating divorce rates. In Southern Africa, marriage has lost its position as an institution where childbearing occurs. Recent studies have hypothesized that there is a relationship between non-marital fertility and delayed entry into conjugal unions. Using the 1987 and 1998 South Africa Demographic and Health Surveys, this study is designed to explore this link and understand patterns of family formation in South Africa. I estimate competing hazard ratios of non-marital childbearing and union formation taking other covariates into account. Results indicate that Africans and Coloures are more likely to have a birth as opposed to enter into a union. However having had a premarital first birth increases the likelihood of union entry for Africans and decreases it for Whites.

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Presented in Poster Session 4