Men, Marriage and Fatherhood in Kinshasa, Zaire

Robert J. Magnani, Guttmacher Institute Jane T. Bertrand, Tulane University Bakutuvwidi Makani, Guttmacher Institute Stacy W. McDonald, Guttmacher Institute

First published online:

Abstract / Summary

Data collected in 1988 from men in a fertility and family planning survey in Kinshasa, Zaire, indicate that age at first sexual activity has declined from 19.6 among men aged 50 or older to 16.6 among those aged 20-29 at the time of the survey. Ag e at first formal marriage, however, has remained stable over time at about 25 years. Although polygyny is illegal in Zaire, about 8% of currently married men in this study have more than one wife. Marital dissolution is common: Among currently married me n with one wife, 42% of those aged 55-60 have been married before. Almost 97% of marriages are formal, with informal marriages most common among young men and unemployed men. Almost 66% of men have fathered a child; that proportion rises from 12% of never-married men without a regular partner to 100% among previously married men with a partner; those who have fathered a child have an average of 5.1 children. Overall, almost 36% of men who are married or who have a partner have fathered a child with a woman other than their current wife or partner; these men have an average of 2.8 such children.

(International Family Planning Perspectives, 21:19-25 & 47, 1995)

Full text available in PDF