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POLYGAM
Polygamous union

Codes and Frequencies



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Description

POLYGAM indicates whether the respondent was in a polygamous union and, in some samples, the number of wives or the rank order of the wife.

Comparability — Index

GENERAL
Benin
Burkina Faso
Cameroon
Egypt
Guinea
Iraq
Kenya
Liberia
Mali
Nepal
Nigeria
Rwanda
Senegal
South Africa
Togo

Comparability — General

Some samples provide polygamy information only for men; others include both men and women (see the universe).

Most samples simply indicate whether or not the person was in a polygamous union: essentially a recode of marital status for countries with polygamy. But samples from ten countries have more information. Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Egypt, Guinea, Iraq, Mali, Rwanda 1991 and 2012, Senegal, and Togo samples indicate whether a man had one, two, or three or more wives. The Rwanda 2002 and the Senegal samples indicate whether a woman was the first, second, or third or higher order wife of a polygamous man. The Benin 1992, 2002, and 2013, Burkina Faso 1996 and 2006, Cameroon 1987 and 2005, and Togo 1960 and 2010 samples indicate the total number of wives a woman's husband has, but not her rank within the marriage.

Polygamy can sometimes be inferred from the presence of multiple spouses in a household, but only when spouses co-resided and were enumerated together. The constructed variable POLYMAL identifies men that the IPUMS family interrelationship algorithm linked to two or more wives.

Comparability — Benin [top]

In the 1979 sample, only men were enumerated as being in a polygamous marriage, but both men and women were included in subsequent samples.

Comparability — Burkina Faso [top]

Burkina Faso identifies both men and women in polygamous marriages. The data for men are comparable across year, identifying the total number of marriages top-coded at three (4 in the unharmonized data). In 1985, women are identified only as being in a polygamous marriage. The 1996 and 2006, also identify the total number of wives in the marriage, but not the women’s rank within the marriage.

Comparability — Cameroon [top]

The 1976 sample collected data only for men. The 1987 and 2005 samples also collected information on women, identifying whether they were in a polygamous marriages and the total number of wives their husband had married.

The number of wives has been top-coded in each year, with additional information available in the unharmonized source variables.

Comparability — Egypt [top]

The data are only available for men. The data are top-coded at 3 or more wives, but the unharmonized source variable identifies men with 4 or more.

Comparability — Guinea [top]

Polygamous status is only reported for men in both samples. The data are top-coded at 3 or more wives, but the unharmonized source variable identifies men with 5 or more.

Comparability — Iraq [top]

The data are only available for men. The data are top-coded at 3 or more wives, but the unharmonized source variable identifies men with 4 or more.

Comparability — Kenya [top]

Information on polygamy was collected as part of marital status for the 1989-2009 censuses and is comparable across these samples. In the 1969 census, the presence of polygamy can be inferred for heads based on the presence of multiple spouses.

Comparability — Liberia [top]

Information on polygamous marriages is available for both men and women in the 2008 sample. Second wives are consistently identified as being in polygamous marriages. About two-thirds of first wives and one-third of husbands in polygamous marriages, however, are coded as being in a monogamous marriage.

The 1974 sample did not report polygamous status and because persons are not organized into households heads with multiple wives cannot be identified.

Comparability — Mali [top]

In 2009, polygamous status is recorded for both men and women, with no information on the number of wives or the order of wives in the household. In earlier years, the data are only available for men and records the number of wives they have. The data are top-coded at 3 or more wives, but the unharmonized variables identify men with 4 or more wives.

Comparability — Nepal [top]

The Nepal 2001 and 2011 census questions collected information on men or women with multiple spouses. However, a woman married to a polygamous man would report to be married with only one spouse. In both samples, there is only one category for a union with multiple spouses, without specification for the number of spouses.

The number of women reporting more than one husband is very small in 2001. For comparability with other censuses, only polygamous men are identified here and no information is available on the number of wives. Researchers can obtain information on polyandrous women in the 2001 unharmonized marital status source variable.

Comparability — Nigeria [top]

The 2008 and 2010 samples identify polygamy as part of marital status for both men and women. In 2006, 2007, and 2009, polygamous status can be inferred for heads in households with multiple wives.

Comparability — Rwanda [top]

The 1991 and 2012 data are only available for men. The 2002 data give the wife number for women.

Comparability — Senegal [top]

In both samples, the category "polygamy, first" applies only to women who are the first wife in a polygamous marriage. All other polygamy categories apply only to men.

Comparability — South Africa [top]

The data are only available for men in the 2001 and 2007 samples. In the 1996 sample, polygamous status is inferred for married heads and spouses based on the number of spouses present in the household.

Comparability — Togo [top]

In the 1970 sample, information on polygamous status is only available for men, whereas it is available for both men and women in 1960 and 2010. Non-residents (visitors) are explicitly excluded from the variable universe in 2010, but not in 1960 or 1970.

In 1960, marital status information for women in a polygamous union was interpreted as "number of wives" in such a union rather than the "spouse rank". The census question for marital status combines into a single category persons in a monogamous union and women who were the first wife in a polygamous union. The head's marital status was used to identify women in polygamous unions, but this was not possible for those women who were not in a union with the household head. Thus, we may underestimate polygamous unions in a small number of cases. Users can refer to the source variables for marital status and spouse rank in the 1960 sample for more details.

Universe

  • Benin 1979: Males in a marital union
  • Benin 1992: Persons in a marital union in private households
  • Benin 2002: Residents in a marital union
  • Benin 2013: Persons in a marital union
  • Burkina Faso 1985: Persons in a marital union
  • Burkina Faso 1996: Persons in a marital union
  • Burkina Faso 2006: Persons in a marital union
  • Cameroon 1976: Males in a marital union
  • Cameroon 1987: Persons in a marital union
  • Cameroon 2005: Persons in a marital union
  • Egypt 1986: Males in a marital union
  • Egypt 1996: Males in a marital union
  • Egypt 2006: Males in a marital union
  • Guinea 1983: Males in a marital union
  • Guinea 1996: Males in a marital union who were household residents
  • Iraq 1997: Males in a marital union
  • Kenya 1989: Persons in a marital union
  • Kenya 1999: Persons in a marital union
  • Kenya 2009: Persons in a marital union
  • Lesotho 1996: Persons in a marital union
  • Lesotho 2006: Persons in a marital union
  • Liberia 2008: Persons in a marital union
  • Mali 1987: Males in a marital union
  • Mali 1998: Males in a marital union
  • Mali 2009: Persons in a marital union
  • Nepal 2001: Males in a marital union
  • Nepal 2011: Persons in a marital union
  • Nigeria 2008: Persons in a marital union
  • Nigeria 2010: Persons in a marital union
  • Rwanda 1991: Males in a marital union
  • Rwanda 2002: Persons in a marital union
  • Rwanda 2012: Males in a marital union
  • Senegal 1988: Persons in a marital union
  • Senegal 2002: Persons in a marital union
  • Sierra Leone 2004: Persons in a marital union
  • South Africa 2001: Males in a marital union
  • South Africa 2007: Males in a marital union, not in an institution
  • Togo 1960: Persons in a marital or consensual union
  • Togo 1970: Males in a marital union
  • Togo 2010: Residents in a marital or consensual union
  • Uganda 2002: Persons in a marital union

Availability

  • Benin: 1979, 1992, 2002, 2013
  • Burkina Faso: 1985, 1996, 2006
  • Cameroon: 1976, 1987, 2005
  • Egypt: 1986, 1996, 2006
  • Guinea: 1983, 1996
  • Iraq: 1997
  • Kenya: 1989, 1999, 2009
  • Lesotho: 1996, 2006
  • Liberia: 2008
  • Mali: 1987, 1998, 2009
  • Nepal: 2001, 2011
  • Nigeria: 2008, 2010
  • Rwanda: 1991, 2002, 2012
  • Senegal: 1988, 2002
  • Sierra Leone: 2004
  • South Africa: 2001, 2007
  • Togo: 1960, 1970, 2010
  • Uganda: 2002