Consensual unions in Burkina Faso: prevalence, trends and determinants

Younoussi Zourkaleini, Université de Ouagadougou and Université de Montréal

Notwithstanding the increased availability of survey data in recent years, our knowledge of marriage patterns and trends in sub-Saharan Africa remains quite limited. This study, based on a national life-history survey (Enquête sur les migrations, l’insertion urbaine et l’environnement au Burkina Faso, 2000), examines consensual unions defined as cohabitations in the absence of a religious, traditional or civil marriage ceremony. This type of union is fairly common in both rural and urban areas, and in the past (<1980) as well as more recently. (Regressions indicate that the incidence of such unions is increasing over time after controlling for sociodemographic factors such as schooling, place of residence, ethnic group and religion.) Consensual unions are relatively more frequent among the few women in their second+ unions; for men, differences are less pronounced. Results are compared with DHS marriage measures at the time of the 1999 survey, and data limitations are discussed.

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Presented in Poster Session 1