American International Journal of Social Science

ISSN 2325-4149(Print), ISSN 2325-4165(Online) DIO: 10.30845/aijss

Rise of Unofficial Marriages in Cameroon: Economic or Socio-Demographic Response?
Hélène Kamdem Kamgno, Carole Eulalie Mvondo Mengue

This study aimed at analyzing the link between spouses' socioeconomic status and cohabitation in Cameroon. It helped identifying the characteristics of couples according to the formal nature of the union, determining the link between spouses' socio-economic status and the non formalization of marriages in Cameroon, as well as its evolution from 1991 to 2004. Analysis from logistic regression show that women aged 15 - 24 years are more likely to be in an informal union than those aged 25 -34 years. This possibility is higher in 1998. Bantu and semi Bantu women are more likely to involve in cohabitation than the Sudanese ones. This possibility increases from 1998 to 2004. Urban women are more likely to involve in unofficial marriages than rural ones. This possibility increases in 1998 and decreases in 2004. Women from couple with 3-10 years age gap between spouses, who are more educated, whose spouse is not economically active, are more likely to be in informal marriage than those in well-matched one. Giving the influence of the women's ethnic group, as well as the socio-economic mismatching of spouses in the non-formalization of unions, governments and other development partners and NGOs should develop sensitization actions against practices likely to encourage dowry higher cost, permissive morals. They should also develop family and premarital education. Among other limitations, research on cohabitation cannot rely on longitudinal data. Therefore, further studies are needed to determine whether cohabitation is a step towards formalization of unions, and to identify the mechanisms of action of factors that may explain the said phenomenon.

Full Text: PDF