Marriage and Parenthood

young couple Peru

Across all Young Lives countries, both young people and their parents now believe it is acceptable to marry later and delay childbirth for economic and health reasons. However, while the rise in schooling is enabling more young people to access information about reproductive health, many girls are still entering into early marriage and childbearing, despite the association with higher infant and maternal mortality, health risks due to physical immaturity, and higher overall fertility.

As our Older Cohort are in their early twenties, many are marrying and starting a family. By the age of 19, over a third of girls in our India sample are already married, and in both India and Ethiopia, many girls are still marrying well below the legal age of 18. Early childbearing is also still prevalent; nearly a quarter of girls in Peru have had a baby by the time they are 19.

In 2016 Young Lives is carrying out qualitative sub-studies in Ethiopia and India to look more closely at the drivers of early marriage. Field research in India will also look at the changes and challenges encountered by adolescents once they are married, particularly with regards to their sexual and reproductive health needs, choices and behaviours and their experiences of motherhood and fatherhood. By exploring young people’s pathways into marriage and parenthood we can contribute to the policy debates about how best to address not just early marriage and early child-bearing but the concerns of adolescent girls and boys in their transitions to adulthood.

Latest research: Marriage and parenthood

Dreaming of a Better Life: Child Marriage Through Adolescent Eyes
Book / chapter
Young Marriage, Parenthood and Divorce in Zambia
Research Report
'Motherhood in Childhood': Generational Change in Ethiopia
Journal Article
Maternal Age and Offspring Human Capital in India
Journal Article
How does teenage marriage and motherhood affect the lives of young women in Ethiopia, India, Peru and Vietnam?
Working paper
Consequences of Teenage Childbearing in Peru. Is the Extended School-day Reform an Effective Policy Instrument to Prevent Teenage Pregnancy?
Working paper
Understanding Child Marriage: Insights from Comparative Research
Policy paper
Marital and Fertility Decision-making: The Lived Experiences of Adolescents and Young Married Couples in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, India
Research Report

Research Countries