Ethnicity and Marriage Patterns in Mozambique|
Marriage in sub-Saharan Africa has been commonly described as early and universal. Yet, its patterns vary across countries and even within countries among different cultural groups. Mozambique is culturally heterogeneous with both patrilineal and matrilineal systems of social organisation represented. Using data from the 1997 Census and 1997 MDHS, this article examines differentials in marriage patterns among five ethnic groups in Mozambique: Tsonga, Sena/Ndau, Lomwe/Chuwabo, Macua and Others, a residual group. Multivariate analyses are used to explore whether the reported ethnic differentials in age at first marriage, polygyny and marital dissolution can be attributed to ethnicity or to other characteristics that distinguish the ethnic groups. The findings are consistent with culture-associated differentials. After controlling for the socio-economic and demographic characteristics of women, the differences remain, with the matrilineal ethnic groups (Macua and Lomwe/Chuwabo) having an earlier age at marriage, lower prevalence of polygyny and higher marital dissolution than the patrilineal ethnic groups (Tsonga and Sena/Ndau).