Special Collection 1 - Article 6 | Pages 175-206

Divorce and Remarriage in Rural Malawi

By Georges Reniers

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Date received:24 Jan 2003
Date published:19 Sep 2003
Word count:7815
Keywords:Africa, divorce, Malawi, marriage


The demographic study of nuptiality in African countries is not very developed and often of secondary interest in a discussion of the proximate determinants of fertility. This paper uses unusual marriage history data to examine divorce and remarriage in rural Malawi.
Life table probabilities of divorce range from 40 to 65 percent and are among the highest on the continent. An investigation into the determinants of marital instability using proportional hazards models confirms the importance of kinship systems and female empowerment, but the mechanism underlying the high divorce rates in Malawi seems to be more complicated than that. This is, for example, illustrated in the effect of the polygyny variables. Marriage, divorce, and remarriage are further considered as empowering strategies that women deploy throughout their lives.

Author's Affiliation

Georges Reniers - London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, United Kingdom [Email]

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