Major changes have been observed in recent decades both in the mode of union formation and in the stability of conjugal unions in Sub-Saharan Africa. Although these changes are known to vary in intensity across countries, variations across ethnical groups within countries are still not well studied. The present study investigates ethnic variations in the dissolution of first union in Senegal, focusing on five ethnic groups: Lebou, Peuhl, Sereer, Toucouleur and Wolof. It attempts to examine the specific effect of ethnicity and to identify underlying mechanisms of action of ethnic variations in union dissolution among men and women. The study uses data from a biographical survey on “vulnerabilities and chronic poverty” in Senegal (2008-2009) and event history analysis techniques. Kaplan-Meier survivor functions were used to explore bivariate relationships and Cox semi-parametric hazard model for multivariate analysis. Results showed that ethnic differences in the hazard of union dissolution become apparent only after controlling for the effects of cumulated fertility, education and birth cohort highlighting the persistence of cultural differences between ethnic groups that cannot be explained by only standard sociological and demographic variables. Ethnicity practices continue to shape marital outcomes in Senegal, especially after controlling for other covariates. This study suggests the need for large-scale and more detailed data covering all Senegalese ethnic groups for a better understanding of the complexity and the persistence of domestic and matrimonial customs and traditions in matrimonial relationships.
Part of the book: Demographic Analysis