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A multilevel analysis of prevalence and factors associated with female child marriage in Nigeria using the 2018 Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey data
Authors: Obasanjo Afolabi Bolarinwa, Bright Opoku Ahinkorah, Joshua Okyere, Abdul-Aziz Seidu and Olalekan Seun Olagunju
Source: BMC Women's Health, Volume 22, issue 158; DOI:
Topic(s): Child marriage
Health equity
Country: Africa
Published: MAY 2022
Abstract: Background: Globally, there has been a decline in female child marriage (FCM) from 1 in 4 girls married a decade ago to approximately 1 in 5 currently. However, this decline is not homogenous because some regions are still experiencing a high prevalence of FCM. As such, the United Nations reiterated the need for concentrated efforts towards ending FCM to avoid more than 120 million girls getting married before their eighteenth birthday by 2030. Following this, we examined the prevalence and factors associated with FCM in Nigeria using multi-level analysis. Methods: We used cross-sectional data from the women’s file of the Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) conducted in 2018. A sample of 4143 young women aged 20–24 was included in the study. Our analysis involved descriptive, chi-square (?2) and multi-level analyses. Results were presented in percentages, frequencies, and adjusted odds ratios (aOR) with their respective confidence intervals (CIs). Results: The prevalence of FCM in 2018 was 65.30%. Young Muslim women aged 20–24 [aOR?=?1.40; 95% CI (4.73–7.52)], those with parity between one and two [aOR?=?5.96, 95% CI 4.73–7.52], those residing in North East [aOR?=?1.55; 95% CI (1.19–2.10)] and North West [aOR?=?1.59; 95% CI (1.18–2.16)] had a higher odd of practicing FCM respondents with secondary education and above [aOR?=?0.36; 95% CI (0.29–0.46)], those within the richer wealth index [aOR?=?0.35; 95% CI (0.23–0.54)] and young women living in communities with high literacy level [aOR?=?0.74; 95% CI (0.59–0.92)] were less likely to get married before age 18 years. Conclusion: Our findings indicate that FCM is high in Nigeria. Formal education, being rich and living in communities with high literacy levels were some protective factors that can be strengthened to ensure that FCM is reduced or eliminated in Nigeria. On the other hand, residing in North-East or North-West and having children between one and two were some prevailing factors that exacerbated the odds of experiencing FCM in Nigeria. Therefore, attention should be channelled towards mitigating these prevailing negative factors.