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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The fertility performance of polygynous marriages in Cameroon
Author:Wultoff, Bangha MartinISNI
Periodical:African Anthropology (ISSN 1024-0969)
Geographic term:Cameroon
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Women's Issues
Health and Nutrition
Fertility and Infertility
Cultural Roles
Marital Relations and Nuptiality
Abstract:The prevalence of polygyny anywhere assures each woman of a potential husband, even in areas of very low sex ratios. Analysis of data relating to 1043 currently married women aged 15-54 from the Cameroon Fertility Survey conducted in 1978 also indicates that polygyny equally ensures that most women remain continually in marriage for the greater part of their procreative life. The incidence of polygyny appears to be a positive function of early female age at first marriage, frequent remarriages after the termination of an initial marriage, higher rates of sterility, and slightly longer postpartum practices, and negatively associated with higher levels of educational attainment among women. The fertility of polygynous relative to monogamous women depends on the wife's rank in the plural union. Fertility rates among second and higher-order wives are significantly lower than those among first wives. No great difference in fertility seems to exist between monogamous wives and first wives of plural unions, though the latter appear to be slightly more fertile. When polygynous wives are all lumped together, there may be no observable significant differences in their fertility performance compared to women in monogamous marriages. Bibliogr., sum.