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Marriage patterns in South Africa: analysis of census 1996-2011 data

Ahuejere Leonard, Statistics South Africa
Lesego Olga O. L. Masebe, Statistics South Africa
Michael Medupi, Statistics South Africa
Tshepho Brian Matlwa, Statistics South Africa

Despite the difficulties associated with collecting and interpreting appropriate data on marriage, existing literature attest that marriage in South Africa is evolving and on the decrease. In traditional societies in sub Saharan African countries, there is a high value accorded to marriage. With the wide diversity of marriage forms, cultures, religions and languages in South Africa, census 2011 provided a platform to further explore the patterns of marital patterns with more focus on rural urban differentials. Adopting a quantitative approach, analysis was carried out using Basic Demographic Methods. The levels of married women has decreased from 35.2% to 27.2%, while those never married has increased from 53.9% to 57.7% from 1996 to 2011. There was an increase from 5.4% to 10.5% of couples living together over the same period. It is envisaged that findings from this study will assist in understanding marriage incidents in the broad South African context.

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Presented in Session 52: Social Change and Family Dynamics