Union Formation and First Birth in Moshi, Tanzania

Megan L. Klein, University of Maryland
Ulla M. Larsen, University of Maryland

Age at first union is increasing throughout much of sub-Saharan Africa at the same time as couples are not universally waiting for marriage before their first sex. While most research on the sequences leading to union formation comes from West Africa, we assess the effect of a premarital first birth on entrance into a first union in an urban area in East Africa: Moshi, Tanzania. The data stem from the 2002-2003 Moshi Infertility Survey. Women who spent less than a year in single motherhood were significantly more likely to enter into a first union than childless women. Women who had been single mothers for five or more years (about two-thirds of women with a premarital birth) were significantly less likely to enter into a first union as women without children. Finally, women with children prior to entering a union have higher rates of HIV at survey interview.

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Presented in Poster Session 1: Fertility, Family Planning, Reproductive Health