Volume 20 - Article 13 | Pages 279-312

Dispensing with marriage: Marital and partnership trends in rural KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa 2000-2006

By Victoria Hosegood, Nuala McGrath, Tom Moultrie

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Date received:31 May 2008
Date published:20 Mar 2009
Word count:6448
Keywords:cohabitation, demographic surveillance system, marriage, partnerships, South Africa, trends


This paper describes marriage and partnership patterns and trends in rural KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa from 2000-2006. The study is based on longitudinal, population-based data collected by the Africa Centre demographic surveillance system. We consider whether the high rates of non-marriage among Africans in South Africa reported in the 1980s were reversed following the political transformation underway by the 1990s. Our findings show that marriage has continued to decline with a small increase in cohabitation among unmarried couples, particularly in more urbanised areas. Comparing surveillance and census data, we highlight problems with the use of the ‘living together’ marital status category in a highly mobile population.

Author's Affiliation

Victoria Hosegood - London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, United Kingdom [Email]
Nuala McGrath - University of Southampton, United Kingdom [Email]
Tom Moultrie - University of Cape Town, South Africa [Email]

Other articles by the same author/authors in Demographic Research

» Sources of error and bias in methods of fertility estimation contingent on the P/F ratio in a time of declining fertility and rising mortality
Volume 19 - Article 46

» Evaluation of a village-informant driven demographic surveillance system in Karonga, Northern Malawi
Volume 16 - Article 8

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