Guide on Gender Analysis of Census Data Full Draft of 6 December 2012 Contents


Chapter 6: Marital Status, Polygamy, Widowhood and Child Marriage



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Chapter 6:
Marital Status, Polygamy, Widowhood and Child Marriage





  1. What is it?

200. Marital status is “the personal status of each individual in relation to the marriage laws or customs of the country” (United Nations, 2008: 159). As they reflect culture, marital status categories are not universal across censuses and categories in a country may change over time. However, census data generally allow distinguishing between at least five categories: a) single, never married; b) married; c) widowed and not remarried; d) divorced and not remarried; e) married but separated. In some countries, it is necessary to take into account consensual unions, or socially recognized stable unions that may not have full legal force. In others, polygamous unions exist that are not always legally recognized or acknowledged by the census. Some countries join categories d) and e) and thus distinguish only 4 marital status categories. On the other hand, the Bahamas, in its 2010 census, distinguishes as many as 9: a) Not in a union; b) Legally married; c) Common-law-union; d) Visiting partner; e) Married but not in a union; f) Legally separated and not in a union; g) Widowed and not in a union; h) Divorced and not in a union; and i) Not stated.


201. Marital status is a key variable for gender analysis. It reveals situations of vulnerability such as polygamous unions, widowhood and child marriage. Wherever possible, marital status should be considered in tandem with household composition in order to capture some of the complexities of household composition.
202. For gender analysis, the category of “married,” in particular, needs to be clear. Monogamous unions should be distinguished from polygamous unions, and unions recognised by law (i.e. generally marriage) should be distinguished from consensual unions, which are recognised by tradition. Examples of consensual unions are customary or “common-law” marriages in much of Africa, visiting unions in the Caribbean and elsewhere, and cohabitation in de facto unions in Europe. Also, several countries (e.g. Brazil, Croatia, Germany) allow marriage or registered partnerships for homosexual couples that may be counted with census data with the categories of marriage, consensual union, or a separate category.
Text Box 9: Types of Socially Recognised Stable Unions Captured in Population and Housing Censuses


  • Marriages: Unions recognized by civil and/or religious authority:

    • Monogamous

    • Polygamous

    • Same sex marriages




  • Consensual Unions: Unions recognized by custom or “common-law”, consensual unions or “companionate marriages,” free unions, temporary unions, visiting unions or cohabitations:

    • Monogamous

    • Polygamous

    • Same sex unions

In recognition of the distinction between these categories, some censuses, particularly in the Caribbean countries, distinguish between the “marital status” and the “union status” of individuals.


Source: Elaborated on the basis of Census Questionnaires of the 2010 Census Round and the UNDESA Multilingual Demographic Dictionary, 2nd edition 1982.
203. Polygamy is a marriage which includes more than two partners. Its most frequent form is polygyny where a husband has two or more wives. In a census, the term ‘polygamy’ is generally used in a de facto sense (i.e. regardless of whether the relationships between the spouses are recognized by the state). Thus, several African censuses distinguish between “married – monogamous marriage” or “married – polygamous marriage” and ask for the number of wives or co-wives (e.g. Benin, Burkina-Faso, Burundi, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Gambia, Kenya, Lesotho, Niger, South Africa, Togo, Uganda, but not Saudi Arabia). More generally, there are complexities in gathering information on marital status where marriage is a process, rather than a single event, as is often the case in Southern Africa. The Data Section discusses some of these complexities of gathering valid polygamy data in greater detail.
204. Widowhood refers to the marital status of a person whose spouse has died and who has not remarried. Widowhood affects women disproportionately; in every region of the world, at least one-third of women age 60 and over are widowed. In Africa, women over age 60 are over six times more likely to be widowed than men of the same age (United Nations, 2009 a).
205. Child marriage is defined as marriage before age 18 (regardless of national legislation on the minimum age at marriage, if different), for both girls and boys, which is the minimum legal age of marriage according to international human rights conventions, notably the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) (United Nations, 1979), the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) (United Nations, 1989). In practice, because women marry at younger ages than men, child marriage concerns mainly girls.


  1. Why is it important?


DISTINCTION BETWEEN SINGLE AND NEVER MARRIED

ARRANGED MARRIAGES BEFORE BIRTH

WOMEN THAT NEVER MARRY, E.G. BECAUSE THEY HAVE TO CARE FOR DEPENDENT PARENTS
206. Marital status greatly affects the socio-economic status of women and men and shapes their experiences in society. One way in which this happens is through the legal or customary practices that determine the property rights of married women. In many African countries, for instance, married women can only inherit property from their husbands, even if accumulated by common labour, through their children. Women in polygamous unions are most likely to see their economic rights violated due to unequal property rights. In Uganda, it was found that women considered themselves co-owners of property acquired during marriage because of the economic importance of their agricultural labour, but men viewed the property as theirs to use to marry a second wife (Khadiagala, 2002).
207. In addition, women’s marital status may influence their participation in the labour force and their educational enrolment, with consequences for their risk of dependency and poverty. For instance, child marriages have a greater impact on the educational career of women than of men, often leading to school drop-out, early pregnancy and the impossibility of ever entering the labour market. All other things being equal, married women may also be less likely to work and acquire economic independence. Consequently, divorced or widowed women are more vulnerable and exposed to the risk of poverty if they did not work while they were married and have no other personal source of income. When analysing this relationship, however, it is important to consider other factors, besides marital status, that may account for the woman's economic activity or inactivity. It may be, for instance, that for women of a certain educational level, it is the number of dependent children, rather than marital status per se, that accounts for their labour force participation.
208. Polygamy has several negative impacts on co-wives, e.g. adverse economic and inheritance consequences, such as loss of property and land ownership, health consequences, such as an increased risk of contracting HIV/STIs, and psycho-social consequences mediated by culture, such as disempowerment, low sense of self-worth, and personal betrayal. Even where culturally or economically accepted by women, it may be experienced as undesirable and burdensome. For example, in a survey conducted in Cameroon (Cheka, 1996) 66 per cent of women in polygamous unions did not want their husbands to take another wife. They gave many reasons for this, most often linked to jealousy and the central role occupied by children. While other types of relationships (e.g. extra-marital relationships in Western countries) may have similar impacts, polygamy adds a human rights dimension by legally and socially sanctioning unequal treatment of men and women. Polygamy also has negative consequences on families and children, including child poverty and lower educational attainment. In Swaziland, for instance, polygamy is an important factor in family disruption as conflicts frequently arise among husband and wives or among co-wives. It also contributes to school drop-out (Poulsen, 2006).
209. Child marriage has negative physical and mental health consequences for the married child and her children, and is often closely connected with forms of sexual exploitation and social isolation. According to Jenson and Thornton (2003), women who married young are more likely to be beaten or threatened, and more likely to believe that a husband might be justified in beating his wife. Child brides suffer health risks associated with early sexual activity and childbearing, leading to high rates of maternal and child mortality as well as sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, as older spouses may have had multiple sexual partners before the girl bride.
210. In many societies, widows are socially disadvantaged. Not only do they face several forms of social, economic, psychological and cultural deprivation, they also lack attention from policy makers and public interest. For a number of reasons, more females than males are affected by widowhood. On the one hand, in most countries men suffer higher mortality (e.g. from chronic life-style diseases or accidents, and violence). In addition, women tend to marry men slightly older than themselves and not to remarry once widowed. The reasons why men are more likely to remarry vary from culture to culture, but often include beliefs about a person’s attractiveness (e.g. linked to virginity), practical considerations (e.g. the need for a partner that can run a household) and the skewed sex ratio among older adults in many countries (Carr and Bodnar-Deren, 2009). See the next section, for an actual example.
211. While in developed countries widowhood is experienced primarily by elderly women, in developing countries it also affects younger women, many of whom are still rearing children. For example, in the 2004 census of Timor Leste, 19.2 per cent of women were found to be widows by the time they reached age 50, whereas this was only the case of 3.4 per cent of the women in the Hong Kong census of 2011. Most of this is due to higher mortality, although in some countries difficulties of remarriage for widows may also play a role. Discrimination in inheritance, including land or property grabbing, loss of social status, stigma and exclusion are a few of the human rights violations associated with widowhood in many societies. Interestingly, in Western countries, research suggests that men are more emotionally affected by widowhood than women, as they are more dependent on their spouse for social and emotional support (Lee et al., 1998). (MAY BE AN EXCESSIVE GENERALIZATION)
212. Widowhood and polygamy are interlinked because in societies where widowhood or singlehood is socially discredited, polygamy may be perceived as a practical alternative. For instance, Surtees (2003) found evidence of an increased prevalence of polygamy in Cambodian society, a practice which was not traditionally widespread. In the context of adult sex ratios skewed by civil war (1970-1975) and ensuing turbulence, many women were forced to choose between being a second wife or remaining unmarried.
Country Example 5: Widowhood Practices in Nigeria
In Nigeria, family law permits certain widowhood practices that discriminate against women, particularly those married according to customary rather than statutory law. Some of the negative practices derive from the belief that “the beauty of a woman is her husband.” At his death, she is seen as unclean and impure, and her health may be undermined by the customs she must observe in the weeks after her husband’s death. If she has no male adult children, she may be ejected from her husband’s house as both it and his land will have been inherited by his oldest brother. In most cases, the husband’s kin do not provide the widow with any economic support, particularly if she will not accept the status of being an additional wife to one of her husband’s brothers. In a study in Imo State, Nigeria, interviews and discussions were held with traditional rulers, leaders of women’s organizations and widows. Five factors that have an impact on the health and economic status of widows were identified: a long period of incarceration during mourning; an obligatory poor standard of hygiene; deprivation of the husband’s property and maltreatment by his relatives; the enforcement of persistent wailing; and the practice of demanding that a widow sit in the same room with her husband’s body until burial.
World Health Organization (1998). Women, Ageing and Health.
213. Child marriage is a harmful traditional practice and one of the most pervasive human rights abuses worldwide. In some countries in Southern Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, half of the girls are married before they turn 18. It violates article 16 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) (UN, 1948) which stipulates that “marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses” as boys and girls lack the maturity to make an informed and free decision and, worse, are sometimes married off by their families without being consulted. The UN Convention on Consent to Marriage, Minimum Age for Marriage and Registration of Marriages (1962) reiterates the right to free and full consent at marriage and holds duty-bearers accountable for specifying a minimum age for marriage and making sure that all marriages are officially registered. CEDAW goes further by stating that “[t]he betrothal and the marriage of a child shall have no legal effect” (Article 16.2). In addition, child marriage is linked to several rights explicitly stated within the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) (United Nations, 1989), specifically to express their views freely, to be protected from all forms of abuse and from harmful traditional practices.
214. Globally, one-third of women currently aged 20–24 were married or in union before they turned 18 (UNICEF Child Info, http://www.childinfo.org/marriage_countrydata.php; accessed 5 May 2011). While the proportion of married girls aged 15 years or less is low, in some countries it ranges from 1 to 5 per cent – such as El Salvador, Ghana, Malaysia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Uganda and Zambia – while in Niger the share of very young girls that are married is above 20 per cent. Married adolescents are generally typified by

  • Large spousal age gaps;

  • Limited social support, due to social isolation;

  • Limited educational attainment and no schooling options;

  • Intense pressure to become pregnant;

  • Increased risk of maternal and infant mortality;

  • Increased vulnerability to HIV and other STIs;

  • Restricted social mobility/freedom of movement;

  • Little access to modern media (TV, radio, newspapers);

  • Lack of skills to be viable to the labour market. (SOURCE ?)



  1. Data issues

215. Marital status data gathered from censuses may not capture the complexity of human experiences and processes that make up the living and union characteristics of women and men. In some of these cases, persons may fit more than one category at the same time. For instance, in some European countries couples may live together, but for legal or fiscal reasons maintain separate addresses. It is not always clear whether to classify persons as “single” or “consensual union” if indeed these categories exist. On the other hand, in many emigration countries, couples may not be legally separated or divorced, but de facto live separate lives as they work in different countries. It is unclear whether to record them as “married” or “married but separated.” In some African countries (e.g. Angola), polygamy is illegal, but men often take informal additional wives. It is not clear whether the informal wife’s marital status should be tallied as “single” or “married.” Finally, child marriages may not be formalized due to legal reasons, yet the arrangements are binding between families. Should informal child brides then be recorded as “married” or “single” ?


IT’S FINE TO RAISE ALL OF THESE ISSUES/QUESTIONS, BUT CAN WE PROVIDE SOME ANSWERS ?
216. Few countries ask questions about the previous marital status of individuals. Some, like Mauritius and Nepal in their 2011 censuses, ask whether the person has been married more than once. One country that includes more detailed information is Ireland. The 2006 census of Ireland distinguishes seven marital status categories, namely a) Single (never married); b) Married (first marriage); c) Remarried following widowhood; d) Remarried following divorce/annulment; e) Separated (including deserted); f) Divorced; and g) Widowed. This allows some interesting analyses, such as quantifying the propensity of widowed or divorced men and women to remarry. According to the Irish data, 9.04 per cent of women over the age of 15 had been widowed and of those only 2.89 per cent had remarried. In the case of men over age 15, only 2.78 per cent had been widowed, but of those a much higher percentage (11.29 per cent) had remarried. To some extent, these results are affected by the age structure, but even if this is taken into account, men are still more likely to remarry. Of the widows aged 40-49, for example, 12.4 per cent had remarried, but the equivalent figure for widowers was 21.2 per cent. Men were also more likely to remarry after a divorce, although here the difference was much smaller. Of those that had been married before, 39.67 per cent had remarried, compared to 30.08 per cent in the case of women. These data confirm the common perception that divorced women and particularly widows are less likely to remarry than men in similar situations.
Country Example 6: Marital Status Categories in Côte d’Ivoire
In Côte d'Ivoire, an effort was made for marital status categories in the census to capture social reality rather than the legal status quo. Legally speaking, only marriages performed by a registry are valid. The law further prohibits the payment and acceptance of a bride-price, polygamy is outlawed and the marriageable age is 18 for women and 20 for men. However, according to the 1998 DHS, 35 per cent of women lived in a polygamous marriage and traditional marriages are commonly performed, even with girls as young as 14, in conservative communities in the North.
In order to adequately capture social reality, the Côte d’Ivoire census of 1998 offered “consensual/free union (union libre)” and “polygamous marriage with 1, 2, etc. co-wives” as answer categories for marital status. It also included the following “types of marriage”: legal marriage, customary marriage, religious marriage, legal and customary marriage, legal and religious marriage, religious and customary marriage, legal, and customary and religious marriage.
217. In countries where consensual unions are frequent and not condemned by social norms, the census is an invaluable tool to report on them, as they are generally not registered. However, it is likely that undocumented/customary marriages and consensual unions will be under-reported in the census, especially in countries where they are socially stigmatized.
218. A marital status category that may be relevant from a gender viewpoint but that has to be constructed from the census data, rather than being directly obtained from the standard options, is that of married women who are not living with their partners. This status may reflect a variety of situations. In many cases, it will refer to women whose spouses are living abroad or elsewhere in the country for work-related reasons. It may also reflect a situation in which spouses are living apart but do not yet consider themselves permanently separated. In censuses taken based on the “de facto”, rather than the “de iure” criterion, it may also indicate that the husband was temporarily absent on census night, even though he normally lives in the household. It is important to be aware of the enumeration criterion as this third situation is obviously very different from the other two.
219. The validity of marital status data is compromised by misreporting and various forms of census editing. False information may be given on marital status for reasons of social desirability (e.g. in societies where divorce or separation is not socially acceptable). Estimates by age may also be affected by age misreporting. Also, under-age spouses are often not asked marital status questions. Where they are asked and report to be married, marital status is in some countries set to “single” to conform to national legislation. Question wording and answer categories on consensual unions and polygamy are not harmonised internationally. Thus, extensive recoding is necessary to make data comparable.
220. Regarding polygamy in particular, there are two important challenges to gender analysis. First, in many Muslim-majority (e.g. Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, Mauritania) and some African countries (e.g. Togo, Uganda), only husbands are asked how many wives they have while wives are only asked whether they are married, without mention of the number of co-wives. To identify women living in polygamous marriages, one has to select households where a man declared to be in a polygamous union. Then, if the man is head of the household, one can identify the women whose relationship to the head of household is declared as “spouse”. This does not work in situations where the various wives live in different households. Second, in some African countries, polygamous consensual unions, although frequent, may be underreported when answer categories do not explicitly include unions involving persons who are cohabiting or married by customary marriage.
221. Text Box 10 below shows census questions on polygamy that a) ask about polygamy for men only, b) include answer categories for women married with men who have several wives c) include polygamous consensual unions.
Text Box 10: Census Questions on Polygamy
a) Qatar Census, 2010

Marital Status



  1. Never married

  2. Married

  3. Divorced

  4. Widowed

For married males only: Number of wives
b) Burundi Census, 2008

Is … married? (Est-ce que …est marié ?)

0. Single (Célibataire)

1. Man married monogamously or woman in monogamous marriage (Homme marié monogame ou femme en mariage monogamique)

2. Man married to two wives or woman married to a man having two wives (Homme marié à 2 épouses ou femme marié à un homme ayant 2 épouses)

3. Man married to three or more wives or woman married to a man having three or more wives (Homme marié à 3 épouses ou plus ou femme mariée à un homme ayant 3 épouses ou plus)

4. Free union (Union libre)

5. Divorced (Divorcé)

6. Separated (Séparé)

7. Widowed (Veuf)


c) Uganda Census, 2002

What is NAME's marital status?

1. Never married

2. Currently married (monogamous)

3. Currently married (polygamous)

4. Widowed

5. Divorced

6. Separated

7. Cohabiting (Monogamous)

8. Cohabiting (Polygamous)


Source: UNFPA Census Portal
222. Deficiencies in enumerator training and census editing may further affect the validity of data on polygamy. The 2001 South African Census, for instance, used question wording of type c) above. However, Table 14 shows that even though marital status included the item "polygamous marriage" for both sexes, not a single woman was reported in category 3. Enumerators were instructed that a man with more than one wife should be recorded as ‘polygamous’ rather than civil or customary marriage and that their wives were to be classified in categories 1 or 2 (married civil/religious or traditional/customary).CAREFUL HERE: THIS MAY HAVE BEEN DONE THROUGH DATA CLEANING RATHER THAN THROUGH ENUMERATOR INSTRUCTIONS. THERE ARE OTHER EQUALLY SERIOUS PROBLEMS IN SOUTH AFRICA REGARDING TRANSLATIONS, PROCESS MARRIAGES, ETC.

Table 14: South Africa (2008) - Population by sex and marital status




Male

Married civil/religious

3,603,016




Married traditional/customary

1,458,342




Polygamous marriage

31,380




Living together like married partners

1,161,375




Never married

14,627,092




Widower/widow

253,148




Separated

117,474




Divorced

182,210

Female

Married civil/religious

3,766,062




Married traditional/customary

1,668,682




Polygamous marriage

0




Living together like married partners

1,228,330




Never married

14,601,746




Widower/widow

1,550,031




Separated

200,824




Divorced

370,058

Report of the Census Sub-Committee to the South African Statistics Council on Census 2001; reproduced on http://www.statssa.gov.za/extract.htm


223. Censuses can reveal patterns of widowhood in a country. Indeed, often widows are enumerated as heads of households in census data. Remarriage, on the other hand, cannot be determined as censuses normally do not ask if a person has been married before. While some censuses ask about the data of first marriage and current marital status, the “married” category is not split into “married to 1st, 2nd, 3rd, … spouse”. The 2006 census of the Maldives is one of the few that asked how many times each individual had been married and to how many people, but the quality of the information obtained was not very good. This is a major obstacle for the identification of gender differences in marriage behaviour.
224. To measure child marriage, “age at first marriage” is the key census variable to analyse. However, relatively few censuses include it (e.g. Algeria, Azerbaijan, Bermuda, China, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Guinea-Bissau, India, Israel, Kazakhstan, Lesotho, Malta, Maldives, Occupied Palestine Territories, Republic of Korea, St. Lucia, Sudan, Swaziland). Where age at first marriage is not collected in a census, a proxy, called Singulate Mean Age at Marriage (SMAM), can be calculated from the population distribution by marital status (see the Indicators section below for details). However, the SMAM only provides an aggregate measure for the entire population or sub-groups thereof, but not for individuals. It is also possible to compare successive censuses, to see how the distribution of marital status among individuals aged (x,x+n) years in the first censuses has changed t years later, when these same individuals are aged (x+t,x+n+t).
4. Tabulations
225. Marital status should be tabulated for persons of all ages, irrespective of the national minimum legal marriageable age. In this way, persons who were married below the minimum age, persons who married in another country with a different minimum marriageable age and persons who were permitted to marry below the legal minimum age because of special circumstances are not excluded. Even then, there is still a risk that child marriages will be underdeclared or even purged from the data by the census authorities.
226. The Principles and Recommendations for Population and Housing Censuses Rev. 2 (United Nations, 2008 a) recommends basic and additional tabulations with regard to marital status. The latter can only be applied where the relevant information is available. The most important basic table is the following:
P4.2-R Population, by marital status, age and sex

227. When compiled for successive censuses, this table can help to detect important trends. In the case of several East and South-east Asian countries, for example, there has been a dramatic increase in the proportions of women remaining single in their 30s and 40s, especially in the big cities. In 2000, 17 per cent of women aged 45-49 in Bangkok remained single, 13 per cent in Singapore and 10 per cent of Chinese women in Kuala Lumpur. The 2000 census data also show sharp increases in the proportions of non-married among women in their 30s in some countries where non-marriage rates were traditionally low, notably the Republic of Korea and Indonesia (Jones, 2003). The following table illustrates this with data from the 1960-2000 censuses of several countries in the region.



Table 15: Percentages of never married women by age group for consecutive censuses in East and Southeast Asia

1960 1970 1980 1990 2000

Thailand

30-34 6.7 8.1 11.8 14.1 16.1

35-39 4.2 5.2 7.3 9.6 11.6

40-44 3.1 3.9 5.3 7.0 9.3

45-49 2.6 3.0 4.1 5.2 8.0

Peninsular Malaysia Chinese

30-34 3.8 9.5 13.3 15.8 18.2

35-39 2.7 5.7 7.6 9.1 10.5

40-44 2.6 3.4 5.8 6.4 8.4

45-49 2.5 2.4 4.6 5.7 7.2

Peninsular Malaysia Malays

30-34 1.1 3.3 7.9 10.2 9.7

35-39 0.8 1.9 3.8 5.8 6.0

40-44 0.6 1.1 2.2 4.1 4.4

45-49 0.6 0.7 1.7 2.3 3.2

Japan


30-34 9.6 7.2 9.1 13.9 26.6

35-39 5.6 5.8 5.5 7.5 13.8

40-44 3.1 5.3 4.4 5.8 8.6

45-49 1.9 4.0 4.4 4.6 6.3

Republic of Korea

30-34 0.5 1.4 2.7 5.3 10.7

35-39 0.2 0.4 1.0 2.4 4.3

40-44 0.1 0.2 0.5 1.1 2.6

45-49 0.1 0.1 0.3 0.6 1.7

Singapore Chinese

30-34 4.7 11.1 17.8 22.4 21.9

35-39 4.3 5.8 9.3 15.6 16.2

40-44 5.2 3.8 6.7 12.3 14.1

45-49 6.2 3.3 4.6 7.9 12.6

Hong Kong (1996)

30-34 6.0 5.6 11.0 24.8 26.5

35-39 5.0 3.0 4.5 11.6 14.6

40-44 5.9 2.9 2.7 7.3 9.0

45-49 7.4 3.8 2.3 3.9 5.9

Source: Jones (2003): Tables 1 and 2

Non-marriage has also increased among males, although the age pattern and the timing of the increase in the various countries have been different from the patterns found in women.

228. Very high percentages of single women aged 35-39 can be found not only in East Asia, but also in Europe, Australia and the Caribbean region. In these cases, the reason is that women in this part of the world often do not marry, but live together with their partners without a formal marriage contract. In Jamaica (2001), according to the World Marriage Data Base of the UN Population Division (2008), 64.5 per cent of women aged 35-39 had never been formally married; in Dominica, this was 58.1 per cent. In Sweden (2006), the number was 40.6 per cent. Compared to these percentages, the number of older single women in East Asia seems relatively low, but it must be borne in mind that its interpretation is quite different as unmarried women in East Asia are unlikely to be cohabiting with their partners.

229. Marital status by sex and age should also be tabulated in combination with religion, school attendance, educational attainment, fertility levels, life expectancy, migratory status, employment status and disability status. The Principles and Recommendations for Population and Housing Censuses Rev. 2 – while not explicitly recommending the above tabulations for religion, fertility, life expectancy and educational variables – suggest the following four as “additional” under the respective chapter headings:
P2.1-A Foreign-born population, by marital status, age and sex

P7.7-A Usually (or currently) active population, by main occupation, marital status and age

P7.8-A Usually (or currently) active population, by main status in employment, marital status and age

P8.3-A Total population 15 of age years and over, by disability status, cross-classified by marital status, urban/rural residence, age and sex



Table 16: Cambodia (2008) - Age of the (male) head of household and the (female) spouse


Age of the Female Spouse

Head

10-19

20-24

25-29

30-34

35-39

40-44

45-49

50-54

55-59

60-64

65-69

70-74

75-79

80+

10-19

2097

1528

251

44

23

8

16

14

13

9

8

8

2

2

20-24

15167

60134

16788

1755

473

151

79

52

12

13

13

7

6

15

25-29

7217

92931

139040

19499

4679

1042

306

221

59

102

25

67

15

89

30-34

1177

18613

93559

77755

25428

5297

1288

302

79

88

18

50

23

124

35-39

577

7764

42841

90813

132391

32201

6511

1203

393

172

94

45

28

78

40-44

356

2403

9760

23988

94998

116058

26801

4803

1147

231

96

27

23

48

45-49

298

1164

3393

7720

27692

84674

103909

19138

3135

496

200

55

37

39

50-54

183

551

1264

2065

5612

16899

63412

63449

9607

1346

300

56

34

31

55-59

127

341

747

901

2482

6608

20807

56889

41017

4988

829

127

37

23

60-64

47

173

495

468

993

2212

5177

19072

38487

22418

3077

447

128

47

65-69

30

103

279

266

605

1159

2635

7127

16688

22330

14011

1727

301

75

70-74

27

79

183

138

286

491

1006

2495

4525

8975

13721

7657

960

176

75-79

13

35

102

69

172

275

491

952

1893

2835

5336

6429

3720

385

80+

13

64

151

92

142

137

199

403

635

900

1228

2181

3092

1998














































Mean

24.70

26.72

30.68

35.45

39.59

44.04

49.04

54.73

60.09

65.00

69.55

73.52

77.20

75.55

230. Table 16 shows the simultaneous distribution of the ages of heads of household and their spouses, in the case where the head of household is a man, for the 2008 census of Cambodia. An analogous table can be constructed for the opposite case, where the head of household is female and the spouse male. On the whole, this particular table does not show any major age differences between heads and their spouses, with the possible exception of the first column (spouses under age 20), whose husbands are, on average, 24.70 years old. The mean ages of the husbands (head of households) for the other age categories are remarkably close to those of the spouses. On the whole, the difference even tends to diminish with age, which indicates a relatively low incidence of remarriages of older men with (much) younger women. Spouses over age 75 tend to have husbands slightly younger than themselves, due to the higher mortality of men compared to women at higher ages. There are, of course, exceptions (the numbers most distant from the diagonal), but 82.4 per cent of the spouses have ages within the same 5-year age bracket as their husbands or the one adjacent to that. Cases of young women living with much older men (the lower left corner of the table) do occur, but are not very common. The results in other countries may, of course, be quite different.



231. The study by Teachman, Tedrow and Crowder (2000) in the Country Example below illustrates the usefulness of census data for investigating long-term trends and change in marriage and divorce.


Country Example 7: Gender and Long-term Shifts in Rates of Marriage and Divorce in the United States
Teachman et al. (2000) used three national censuses and a variety of sources to examine changes in marital status of American women over a period of three decades. Overall, they report a general decline over time in the early formation of marriages, a growing tendency to never marry (especially for some racial and ethnic groups), and an increase over time in the dissolution of marriages. The more specific findings fall into three areas: marriage, singlehood and divorce.
a) Regarding early marriage, among both Whites and African Americans, the proportion of women aged 20-24 ever married declined by about 32 percentage points between 1975 and 1998. By the late 1990s only one third of White women and 15 per cent of African American women aged 20-24 had ever married. The observed change in the prevalence of marriage among Hispanic women has been much more moderate. The percentage of Hispanic women aged 20-24 ever married changed little until 1985, but then declined markedly, by 11 percentage points between 1985 and 1990. Between 1990 and 1995, the percentage ever married rose slightly before experiencing another 9-percentage-point drop between 1995 and 1998. Still, Hispanic women in the 1990s were more likely than either Whites or African Americans to have formed a marriage by age 20-24.
b) The likelihood of permanent singlehood has also increased for all groups, with a more substantial increase in the likelihood of permanent singlehood for African American women (nevertheless, the study acknowledges that it does not take into consideration the proportion of women who form nonmarital unions).
c) Divorce has increased in all three groups over the period of the study; the proportion of ever-married women divorced from their first marriage by age 40-44 rose sharply between 1975 and 1990 for all three race and ethnic groups. For Whites, the increase was particularly large from 1975 to 1985 (from 20 per cent to 32 per cent) with some slowing in the 1985–1990 period (32 per cent to 35 per cent). For African Americans, the increase in the per cent divorced has been more steady, rising from slightly less than 30 per cent in 1975 to 45 per cent in 1990. Hispanic women have also experienced an increase in the per cent of women aged 40-44 divorced from their first marriage (from just less than 20 per cent in 1980 to 27 per cent in 1990).
The authors conclude that that marriage has become less valued and less important as a source of economic stability and exchange, particularly for women in American society. Gender roles have changed along with economic expectations for women, these changes have resulted in a shift away from marriage as the dominant marital status category.


232. Marital status by sex, age, religion and/or ethnicity can indicate a relation between belief and nuptiality, which reflects attitudes towards marriage and divorce as well as different legal provisions, especially in countries where a “Personal Status Law” - and not a civil code - regulates marriage, divorce, custody, inheritance and so forth (Israel, most Muslim-majority countries, with the notable exception of Tunisia). Such tabulations have been used to diffuse stereotypes, e.g. to show that in the US ‘born-again’ Christians, despite their emphasis on family values, actually have similar divorce rates as other Christians or non-affiliated persons (Lehrer et al., 1993). The same information can also be used to determine typical differences in the age at marriage between men and women according to religion, using the concept of SMAM referred to earlier.
WE WILL DO A VISUALIZATION HERE OF AGE AT FIRST MARRIAGE OR MAYBE THE DIFFERENCE IN AGE AT FIRST MARRIAGE BETWEEN MEN AND WOMEN FOR MALAWI, MAYBE DIFFERENTIATED BY CURRENT AGE GROUPS, TO SEE TRENDS. MAYBE WE CAN SPATIALLY CORRELATE THAT WITH EDUCATION OR SOME OTHER EXPLANATORY VARIABLE.
233. To understand the impact of education in a context culturally favourable to polygamy, one may further disaggregate table P4.2-R above, i.e. “Population, by marital status, age and sex,” by educational attainment and/or literacy. If this does not yield clear results on polygamy, one may select areas where polygamy is prevalent and compare, for women of the same age group, ethnic group and religion, if the proportion of women polygamously married is negatively related to educational attainment/literacy. Past research suggests that women who have received no formal education are more likely to be in polygamous unions than women who have received primary or secondary education. Where both spouses have not received formal education, polygamy is most widespread (UNICEF, 2005). Comparing the educational level of women in polygamous unions to women in monogamous unions can confirm these findings in-country. It is necessary to compare women of the same age group to control for the effect of changes in education.
234. Understanding widowhood can contribute to explaining certain social phenomena such as poverty. The widowed population can be tabulated by age and crossed with variables such as household headship, socio-economic level (using the Basic Needs Approach) and receipt of state benefits (where such data are available). In addition to their larger numbers, widows are more likely than widowers to co-reside with their children. In Vanuatu (2011), for example, 33.9 per cent of widowed women over age 60 are living with their children, compared to 23.9 per cent of widowed men and 18.5 per cent of women over age 60 who are not widowed. It is important to remember that marriage data uncontrolled for age will give a distorted image. While there are usually many more widows than widowers this is partially due to the fact that there are, numerically speaking, more older women than older men in a population. When cross-classified by age, the proportions are less disparate.
235. Although there is a statistical relationship between the age at first marriage or the marital status of women at any given age and their level of education, it is generally impossible to demonstrate the causal direction of this relationship, at least with census data. It may be that early marriage is an obstacle to further schooling, but it is equally possible that the early marriage is a consequence of having dropped out of school at an early age. It takes longitudinal data of a kind that is normally not available in censuses to disentangle the causality of the relationship. At the very least one should know when the woman got married and when she left school, but not many censuses ask the former and almost none ask the latter. One could try to estimate the age of leaving school from the highest grade attended, but this can be deceptive as it is exactly those women who are most delayed in their education who are most likely to drop out.

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