Recent Marriage Patterns in South Africa 1996-2007

Martin E. Palamuleni, North-West University, South Africa

Marriages in South Africa, like elsewhere, are undergoing changes. Early and universal marriages if they ever existed are no longer the norm. The aim of this study is to examine emerging marriage patterns in South Africa. The study indicates that mean age at marriage for men and women in South Africa is high and increasing and more men and women are staying single. The percent of the population in the childbearing age groups that has never married has declined from 55% in 1996 to 54% in 2001. The percentage of married women has decreased from 35% to 30% whereas the percentage living together has increased from 6% to 9% over the same period. These changes are attributed to social conditions such as increasing education levels, employment of women, urbanisation and modernisation. More studies should be undertaken to understand the causes and consequences of the changing marriage patterns in South Africa.

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Presented in Poster Session 5