February 2016 | A recently published article by Shelley Clark and Sarah Brauner-Otto has received wide media coverage. You can listen to a report by the BBC here. It was also covered by Radio France Internationale (RFI), The Standard, North Dallas Gazette and many other news outlets.
Divorce in sub-Saharan Africa: Are Unions Becoming Less Stable?
Divorce is one of the main drivers of family instability in sub-Saharan Africa. Using data from 101 Demographic and Health Surveys and novel estimation techniques, we 1) provide the first systematic estimates of divorce across 33 countries; 2) assess trends in divorce in 20 countries; and 3) investigate the key country-level correlates of divorce both across and within countries. Despite considerable geographic variation, our estimates show that divorce is common in most countries. Contrary to expectations, however, we find no evidence that divorce is increasing. Instead, divorce has been either stable or declining in recent decades. We show that socioeconomic factors associated with industrialization have countervailing effects on divorce. Urbanization and female employment are associated with higher levels of divorce, while age at first marriage and female education correspond to lower rates. These findings have implications for current and future family dynamics in sub-Saharan Africa.