Factors associated with age at first marriage in Zambia
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The fertility rates of Zambia have been rising in recent years, with total fertility rate at 6.2. This rate contrasts sharply with the average total fertility rates for most developed countries and far exceeds the level of 2.2 children required to replace the population. One of the important factors contributing to the rising fertility has been the continued low age at first marriage among the Zambian women. This study aims at determining factors associated with this constant low age at first marriage among Zambian women. The study used data from the 2007 Zambia Demographic Health Survey. It is a nationally representative survey covering 7,146 women aged 15-49 years. Age at first marriage of women is the dependent variable in this study. There are 6 independent variables in the study. Bivariate and multivariate analyses were used to analyze data. To determine the relative importance of the factors that are related to age at first marriage, as well as to establish which of the variables have independent effects, five regression models were estimated. The results of this study reveal that out of the six independent variables that were considered in the logistic model, only three variables were considered to be statistically significant , education (p< .01), social status (p<.01), and region (p<.05). Religion (p>0.5), place of residence (p>.05) and ethnicity (p>.05) are important determinants of age at first marriage but they are not statistically significant in explaining age at first marriage in Zambia. The study also reveals that there are regional differences, which are often interpreted in terms of culture, among regions in the socio-economic statuses of women. Therefore, it is important to promote policies and programs to increase age at first marriage in some parts of the country where socio-economic status is low by providing more education facilities and job opportunities.