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CHILD MARRIAGE IN BANGLADESH: TRENDS AND DETERMINANTS

  • S. M. MOSTAFA KAMAL (a1) (a2), CHE HASHIM HASSAN (a1), GAZI MAHABUBUL ALAM (a1) and YANG YING (a3)
Summary

This study examines the trends and determinants of child marriage among women aged 20–49 in Bangladesh. Data were extracted from the last six nationally representative Demographic and Health Surveys conducted during 1993–2011. Simple cross-tabulation and multivariate binary logistic regression analyses were adopted. According to the survey conducted in 2011, more than 75% of marriages can be categorized as child marriages. This is a decline of 10 percentage points in the prevalence of child marriage compared with the survey conducted in 1993–1994. Despite some improvements in education and other socioeconomic indicators, Bangladeshi society still faces the relentless practice of early marriage. The mean age at first marriage has increased by only 1.4 years over the last one and half decades, from 14.3 years in 1993–1994 to 15.7 years in 2011. Although the situation on risk of child marriage has improved over time, the pace is sluggish. Both the year-of-birth and year-of-marriage cohorts of women suggest that the likelihood of marrying as a child has decreased significantly in recent years. The risk of child marriage was significantly higher when husbands had no formal education or little education, and when the wives were unemployed or unskilled workers. Muslim women living in rural areas have a greater risk of child marriage. Women's education level was the single most significant negative determinant of child marriage. Thus, the variables identified as important determinants of child marriage are: education of women and their husbands, and women's occupation, place of residence and religion. Programmes to help and motivate girls to stay in school will not only reduce early marriage but will also support overall societal development. The rigid enforcement of the legal minimum age at first marriage could be critical in decreasing child marriage.

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Corresponding author
1Corresponding author. Email: kamaliubd@yahoo.com
References
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Journal of Biosocial Science
  • ISSN: 0021-9320
  • EISSN: 1469-7599
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