Study: Divorce rates in Kenya have remained constant in the last 20 years

NAIROBI: The risk of divorce in Kenya has remained constant over the last 20 years, according to a new study.

Urbanisation and female employment, which are generally associated with higher rates of divorce, have not affected divorce rates in Kenya and several other sub-Saharan countries, says the study by Canada's McGill University.

It looked at divorce rates across 20 African countries including Kenya, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Benin Ghana, Niger, Liberia, Malawi, Namibia, Senegal, Togo and Zambia.

The report said urbanisation and female employment failed to affect the divorce rate as the women entered into unions when they were older and more mature. This has translated to more stable marriages.

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"Marital instability and family structure are critical issues in this part of the world, where divorce comes with dire consequences for the health and education of children," the study by Shelley Clark, the university's director of the Centre on Population Dynamics, says.

In her previous work, Clark, who is also a sociology professor, studied 11 countries in sub-Saharan Africa and found that while children of all single mothers tended to be disadvantaged (compared to those whose parents were married), children whose mothers were divorced were more likely to die than were children of never-married or widowed mothers.

A report published by The Standard recently revealed a gradual increase in divorce cases between 2001 and 2014, citing records at Milimani Law Courts.

"In 2001, a total of 101 divorce cases were filed at Milimani Courts. The number rose to 115 in 2002 and then 206 cases in 2003. The following years 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2008 recorded 296, 295, 357 and 369 cases respectively. Between 2010 and 2015, a total of 1,246 cases have been filed."

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