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MARSTAT (V501)
Woman's current marital or union status

Codes and Frequencies



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Description

MARSTAT (V501) reports the woman's current marital status. Response categories and question wording vary across surveys. See Comparability.

Comparability — Index

GENERAL
Afghanistan
Bangladesh
Egypt
India
Kenya
Mali
Morocco
Myanmar
Pakistan
Sudan
Tunisia
Yemen
Zimbabwe

Comparability

Along with universe differences, MARSTAT (V501) differs in the degree of detail provided on the woman's current union status. IPUMS-DHS uses composite coding to preserve this detail while maximizing comparability across samples. The responses "Married" and "Living together" share a common first digit of 2, with the second digit preserving the detail. Similarly, the responses "Widowed," "Divorced," and "Separated/not living together" share a common first digit of 3, with the second digit distinguishing among these categories. Analysts using samples with differing levels of detail in MARSTAT may collapse detailed categories into broad categories based on the first digit to achieve comparability across samples.

As suggested by the varying degree of detail in MARSTAT, there is considerable variation in the structure and wording of questions collecting information on current marital status. MARSTAT covers three overlapping issues: (1) current union status (none, married, or, for most samples, living with a man); (2) past union status for those not currently in a union; and (3) legal marital status for those not currently married but ever in union. Some surveys embed a question about whether women who are not married or living with a man have a regular sex partner, but responses to that query are not incorporated into MARSTAT.

Significant changes over time in MARSTAT information for a country, and major deviations from common practice, are noted below. Researchers focusing on marriage practices and union formation/dissolution should consult question wording and response categories for samples of interest with care.

Comparability - Standard DHS

Questions relating to marital status in the standard DHS questionnaires changed over time. The opening question, "Have you ever been married or lived with a man," added the phrase "as if married" to "lived with a man" beginning in Phase 5.

In Phases 1 and 2, the remaining information for MARSTAT (V501) was collected through the following single question: "Are you now married or living with a man, or are you now widowed, divorced, or no longer living together?"

Beginning with Phase 3, the standard questionnaire used two follow-up questions instead:
1) "Are you currently married or living with a man?" and 2) "What is your marital status now: are you widowed, divorced, or separated?"

Comparability — Afghanistan [top]

Because the Afghanistan sample is limited to ever-married women, the "living with partner" and "never married" categories are not included in the Afghanistan sample.

Comparability — Bangladesh [top]

The 2000, 2004, 2007, 2011, and 2014 Bangladesh samples distinguish between "Separated" (code "33") and "Deserted" (code "34"). To maximize comparability with samples that do not include "Deserted", these two response categories should be combined into "Separated/no longer living together."

Comparability — Egypt [top]

Because Egyptian samples are limited to ever-married women, the "living/lived with a man" and "never in union" categories are not included. The samples for 1988, 1992, and 1995 recognize only married, divorced, and widowed categories; samples for 2000 and later years also include "separated." Prior to 2000, most separated women probably reported themselves as married, though some may have reported their separation as a de facto "divorce."

Comparability — India [top]

While the 1992 and 1998 Indian surveys include only ever-married women, the 2005 and 2015 Indian surveys include women of all marital statuses. Researchers who wish to study India across all four surveys must therefore drop the "never-married" cases from the 2005 and 2015 samples. The response category of "married, Gauna not performed" refers to women who are legally married but whose marriages are not consummated; such women are treated as "never married" in the MARSTAT coding scheme.

Comparability — Kenya [top]

The Kenya 2003 survey form includes separate response categories for "married with certificate" and "married by custom" but this distinction is not maintained within MARSTAT.

Comparability — Mali [top]

Malian surveys for 1995 and 2001 include the response category "first union not consummated," which is coded as "never married" in MARSTAT. Notably, the 1987 Mali survey does not distinguish "married" and "living with a man," while the remaining Mali samples separate these categories.

Comparability — Morocco [top]

While the 1987 Moroccan survey includes only ever-married women, the 1992 and 2003 Moroccan surveys include women of all marital statuses. Researchers who wish to study Morocco across all surveys must therefore drop the "never-married" cases from the 1992 and 2003 samples. Additionally, none of the Moroccan samples ask whether the respondent has ever lived with a man, and so the response category "Living together" is not available for any of the Moroccan samples.

Comparability — Myanmar [top]

The 2015 Myanmar sample does not ask whether the respondent has ever lived with a man, and so the response category "Living together" is not available for the 2015 Myanmar sample.

Comparability — Pakistan [top]

Because Pakistani samples are limited to ever-married women, the "living/lived with a man" and "never in union" categories are not included in any of the Pakistani samples.

Comparability — Sudan [top]

Because the Sudanese sample is limited to ever-married women, the "living/lived with a man" and "never in union" categories are not included in the 1989 Sudan sample. The 1989 sample recognizes only married, divorced, and widowed categories. Most separated women probably reported themselves as married, though some may have reported their separation as a de facto "divorce."

Comparability — Tunisia [top]

Because the Tunisian sample is limited to ever-married women, the "living with partner" and "never married" categories are not included in the Tunisian sample.

Comparability — Yemen [top]

While the 1991 Yemen survey includes only ever-married women, the 2013 Yemen survey includes woman of all marital statuses. Researchers who wish to study Yemen across all surveys must therefore drop the "never-married" cases from the 2013 sample.

Additionally, the 2013 Yemen survey has two separate questionnaires: an ever-married questionnaire, and a single woman's questionnaire. Because this question is only included in the ever-married questionnaire, the "living together" response category is not available in either of the Yemen samples.

Comparability — Zimbabwe [top]

Although all women of childbearing age were sampled, the 1988 Zimbabwe survey referred only to marriage and its dissolution, not to living with a man. The 1994 Zimbabwe survey asked whether women not currently married had "ever been married or lived with a man," but the codes do not distinguish between marriage and cohabitation. For these two samples, separation and divorce are also not distinguished from each other. Later Zimbabwe surveys do distinguish marriage from cohabitation and divorce from separation, but researchers must combine categories for comparability with the first two surveys for Zimbabwe.

Universe

  • Afghanistan 2015: Ever-married women age 15-49.
  • Angola 2015: All women age 15-49.
  • Bangladesh 1994: Ever-married women age 10-49.
  • Bangladesh 1997: Ever-married women age 10-49.
  • Bangladesh 2000: Ever-married women age 10-49.
  • Bangladesh 2004: Ever-married women age 10-49.
  • Bangladesh 2007: Ever-married women age 15-49.
  • Bangladesh 2011: Ever-married women age 12-49.
  • Bangladesh 2014: Ever-married women age 15-49.
  • Benin 1996: All women age 15-49.
  • Benin 2001: All women age 15-49.
  • Benin 2006: All women age 15-49.
  • Benin 2011: All women age 15-49.
  • Burkina Faso 1993: All women age 15-49.
  • Burkina Faso 1998: All women age 15-49.
  • Burkina Faso 2003: All women age 15-49.
  • Burkina Faso 2010: All women age 15-49.
  • Burundi 1987: All women age 15-49.
  • Burundi 2010: All women age 15-49.
  • Burundi 2016: All women age 15-49.
  • Cameroon 1991: All women age 15-49.
  • Cameroon 1998: All women age 15-49.
  • Cameroon 2004: All women age 15-49.
  • Cameroon 2011: All women age 15-49.
  • Congo (Democratic Republic) 2007: All women age 15-49.
  • Congo (Democratic Republic) 2013: All women age 15-49.
  • Cote d'Ivoire 1994: All women age 15-49.
  • Cote d'Ivoire 1998: All women age 15-49.
  • Cote d'Ivoire 2011: All women age 15-49.
  • Egypt 1988: Ever-married women age 15-49.
  • Egypt 1992: Ever-married women age 15-49.
  • Egypt 1995: Ever-married women age 15-49.
  • Egypt 2000: Ever-married women age 15-49.
  • Egypt 2005: Ever-married women age 15-49.
  • Egypt 2008: Ever-married women age 15-49.
  • Egypt 2014: Ever-married women age 15-49.
  • Ethiopia 2000: All women age 15-49.
  • Ethiopia 2005: All women age 15-49.
  • Ethiopia 2011: All women age 15-49.
  • Ethiopia 2016: All women age 15-49.
  • Ghana 1988: All women age 15-49.
  • Ghana 1993: All women age 15-49.
  • Ghana 1998: All women age 15-49.
  • Ghana 2003: All women age 15-49.
  • Ghana 2008: All women age 15-49.
  • Ghana 2014: All women age 15-49.
  • Guinea 1999: All women age 15-49.
  • Guinea 2005: All women age 15-49.
  • Guinea 2012: All women age 15-49.
  • India 1992: Ever-married women age 13-49.
  • India 1998: Ever-married women age 15-49.
  • India 2005: All women age 15-49.
  • India 2015: All women age 15-49.
  • Kenya 1989: All women age 15-49.
  • Kenya 1993: All women age 15-49.
  • Kenya 1998: All women age 15-49.
  • Kenya 2003: All women age 15-49.
  • Kenya 2008: All women age 15-49.
  • Kenya 2014: All women age 15-49.
  • Lesotho 2004: All women age 15-49.
  • Lesotho 2009: All women age 15-49.
  • Lesotho 2014: All women age 15-49.
  • Madagascar 1992: All women age 15-49.
  • Madagascar 1997: All women age 15-49.
  • Madagascar 2003: All women age 15-49.
  • Madagascar 2008: All women age 15-49.
  • Malawi 1992: All women age 15-49.
  • Malawi 2000: All women age 15-49.
  • Malawi 2004: All women age 15-49.
  • Malawi 2010: All women age 15-49.
  • Malawi 2016: All women age 15-49.
  • Mali 1987: All women age 15-49.
  • Mali 1995: All women age 15-49.
  • Mali 2001: All women age 15-49.
  • Mali 2006: All women age 15-49.
  • Mali 2012: All women age 15-49.
  • Model 2015: All women age 15-49.
  • Morocco 1987: Ever-married women age 15-49.
  • Morocco 1992: All women age 15-49.
  • Morocco 2003: All women age 15-49.
  • Mozambique 1997: All women age 15-49.
  • Mozambique 2003: All women age 15-49.
  • Mozambique 2011: All women age 15-49.
  • Myanmar 2015: All women age 15-49.
  • Namibia 1992: All women age 15-49.
  • Namibia 2000: All women age 15-49.
  • Namibia 2006: All women age 15-49.
  • Namibia 2013: All women age 15-64.
  • Niger 1992: All women age 15-49.
  • Niger 1998: All women age 15-49.
  • Niger 2006: All women age 15-49.
  • Niger 2012: All women age 15-49.
  • Nigeria 1990: All women age 15-49.
  • Nigeria 1999: All women age 10-49.
  • Nigeria 2003: All women age 15-49.
  • Nigeria 2008: All women age 15-49.
  • Nigeria 2013: All women age 15-49.
  • Pakistan 1991: Ever-married women age 15-49.
  • Pakistan 2006: Ever-married women age 15-49.
  • Pakistan 2012: Ever-married women age 15-49.
  • Rwanda 1992: All women age 15-49.
  • Rwanda 2000: All women age 15-49.
  • Rwanda 2005: All women age 15-49.
  • Rwanda 2010: All women age 15-49.
  • Rwanda 2014: All women age 15-49.
  • Senegal 1986: All women age 15-49.
  • Senegal 1992: All women age 15-49.
  • Senegal 1997: All women age 15-49.
  • Senegal 2005: All women age 15-49.
  • Senegal 2010: All women age 15-49.
  • Senegal 2012: All women age 15-49.
  • Senegal 2014: All women age 15-49.
  • Senegal 2015: All women age 15-49.
  • Senegal 2016: All women age 15-49.
  • Senegal 2017: All women age 15-49.
  • Sudan 1989: Ever-married women age 15-49.
  • Tanzania 1991: All women age 15-49.
  • Tanzania 1996: All women age 15-49.
  • Tanzania 1999: All women age 15-49.
  • Tanzania 2004: All women age 15-49.
  • Tanzania 2010: All women age 15-49.
  • Tanzania 2015: All women age 15-49.
  • Tunisia 1988: Ever-married women age 15-49.
  • Uganda 1988: All women age 15-49.
  • Uganda 1995: All women age 15-49.
  • Uganda 2001: All women age 15-49.
  • Uganda 2006: All women age 15-49.
  • Uganda 2011: All women age 15-49.
  • Uganda 2016: All women age 15-49.
  • Yemen 1991: Ever-married women age 15-54.
  • Yemen 2013: All women age 15-49.
  • Zambia 1992: All women age 15-49.
  • Zambia 1996: All women age 15-49.
  • Zambia 2001: All women age 15-49.
  • Zambia 2007: All women age 15-49.
  • Zambia 2013: All women age 15-49.
  • Zimbabwe 1988: All women age 15-49.
  • Zimbabwe 1994: All women age 15-49.
  • Zimbabwe 1999: All women age 15-49.
  • Zimbabwe 2005: All women age 15-49.
  • Zimbabwe 2010: All women age 15-49.
  • Zimbabwe 2015: All women age 15-49.
  • Afghanistan: 2015-C, 2015-W, 2015-B
  • Angola: 2015-W, 2015-C, 2015-B
  • Bangladesh: 1994-C, 1994-B, 1994-W, 1997-C, 1997-B, 1997-W, 2000-C, 2000-B, 2000-W, 2004-C, 2004-B, 2004-W, 2007-C, 2007-B, 2007-W, 2011-C, 2011-B, 2011-W, 2014-W, 2014-C, 2014-B
  • Benin: 1996-W, 1996-C, 1996-B, 2001-W, 2001-C, 2001-B, 2006-W, 2006-C, 2006-B, 2011-W, 2011-C, 2011-B
  • Burkina Faso: 1993-W, 1993-C, 1993-B, 1998-W, 1998-C, 1998-B, 2003-W, 2003-C, 2003-B, 2010-W, 2010-C, 2010-B
  • Burundi: 1987-C, 1987-B, 1987-W, 2010-C, 2010-B, 2010-W, 2016-W, 2016-C, 2016-B
  • Cameroon: 1991-W, 1991-C, 1991-B, 1998-W, 1998-C, 1998-B, 2004-W, 2004-C, 2004-B, 2011-W, 2011-C, 2011-B
  • Congo (Democratic Republic): 2007-C, 2007-B, 2007-W, 2013-W, 2013-C, 2013-B
  • Cote d'Ivoire: 1994-W, 1994-C, 1994-B, 1998-W, 1998-C, 1998-B, 2011-W, 2011-C, 2011-B
  • Egypt: 1988-W, 1988-C, 1988-B, 1992-W, 1992-C, 1992-B, 1995-W, 1995-C, 1995-B, 2000-W, 2000-C, 2000-B, 2005-W, 2005-C, 2005-B, 2008-W, 2008-C, 2008-B, 2014-W, 2014-C, 2014-B
  • Ethiopia: 2000-W, 2000-C, 2000-B, 2005-W, 2005-C, 2005-B, 2011-W, 2011-C, 2011-B, 2016-W, 2016-C, 2016-B
  • Ghana: 1988-W, 1988-C, 1988-B, 1993-W, 1993-C, 1993-B, 1998-W, 1998-C, 1998-B, 2003-W, 2003-C, 2003-B, 2008-W, 2008-C, 2008-B, 2014-W, 2014-C, 2014-B
  • Guinea: 1999-W, 1999-C, 1999-B, 2005-W, 2005-C, 2005-B, 2012-W, 2012-C, 2012-B
  • India: 1992-W, 1992-C, 1992-B, 1998-W, 1998-C, 1998-B, 2005-W, 2005-C, 2005-B, 2015-W, 2015-C, 2015-B
  • Kenya: 1989-W, 1989-C, 1989-B, 1993-W, 1993-C, 1993-B, 1998-W, 1998-C, 1998-B, 2003-W, 2003-C, 2003-B, 2008-W, 2008-C, 2008-B, 2014-W, 2014-C, 2014-B
  • Lesotho: 2004-W, 2004-C, 2004-B, 2009-W, 2009-C, 2009-B, 2014-W, 2014-C, 2014-B
  • Madagascar: 1992-W, 1992-C, 1992-B, 1997-W, 1997-C, 1997-B, 2003-W, 2003-C, 2003-B, 2008-W, 2008-C, 2008-B
  • Malawi: 1992-W, 1992-C, 1992-B, 2000-W, 2000-C, 2000-B, 2004-W, 2004-C, 2004-B, 2010-W, 2010-C, 2010-B, 2016-W, 2016-C, 2016-B
  • Mali: 1987-W, 1987-C, 1987-B, 1995-W, 1995-C, 1995-B, 2001-W, 2001-C, 2001-B, 2006-W, 2006-C, 2006-B, 2012-W, 2012-C, 2012-B
  • Model: 2015-W, 2015-C, 2015-B
  • Morocco: 1987-W, 1987-C, 1987-B, 1992-W, 1992-C, 1992-B, 2003-W, 2003-C, 2003-B
  • Mozambique: 1997-W, 1997-C, 1997-B, 2003-W, 2003-C, 2003-B, 2011-W, 2011-C, 2011-B
  • Myanmar: 2015-C, 2015-W, 2015-B
  • Namibia: 1992-W, 1992-C, 1992-B, 2000-W, 2000-C, 2000-B, 2006-W, 2006-C, 2006-B, 2013-W, 2013-C, 2013-B
  • Niger: 1992-W, 1992-C, 1992-B, 1998-W, 1998-C, 1998-B, 2006-W, 2006-C, 2006-B, 2012-W, 2012-C, 2012-B
  • Nigeria: 1990-W, 1990-C, 1990-B, 1999-W, 1999-C, 1999-B, 2003-W, 2003-C, 2003-B, 2008-W, 2008-C, 2008-B, 2013-W, 2013-C, 2013-B
  • Pakistan: 1991-W, 1991-C, 1991-B, 2006-W, 2006-C, 2006-B, 2012-W, 2012-C, 2012-B
  • Rwanda: 1992-W, 1992-C, 1992-B, 2000-W, 2000-C, 2000-B, 2005-B, 2005-W, 2005-C, 2010-B, 2010-W, 2010-C, 2014-W, 2014-C, 2014-B
  • Senegal: 1986-B, 1986-W, 1986-C, 1992-B, 1992-W, 1992-C, 1997-B, 1997-W, 1997-C, 2005-B, 2005-W, 2005-C, 2010-B, 2010-W, 2010-C, 2012-B, 2012-W, 2012-C, 2014-B, 2014-W, 2014-C, 2015-W, 2015-C, 2015-B, 2016-W, 2016-C, 2016-B, 2017-W, 2017-C, 2017-B
  • Sudan: 1989-B, 1989-W, 1989-C
  • Tanzania: 1991-B, 1991-W, 1991-C, 1996-B, 1996-W, 1996-C, 1999-B, 1999-W, 1999-C, 2004-B, 2004-W, 2004-C, 2010-B, 2010-W, 2010-C, 2015-W, 2015-C, 2015-B
  • Tunisia: 1988-W, 1988-C, 1988-B
  • Uganda: 1988-B, 1988-W, 1988-C, 1995-B, 1995-W, 1995-C, 2001-B, 2001-W, 2001-C, 2006-B, 2006-W, 2006-C, 2011-B, 2011-W, 2011-C, 2016-W, 2016-C, 2016-B
  • Yemen: 1991-B, 1991-W, 1991-C, 2013-B, 2013-W, 2013-C
  • Zambia: 1992-B, 1992-W, 1992-C, 1996-B, 1996-W, 1996-C, 2001-B, 2001-W, 2001-C, 2007-B, 2007-W, 2007-C, 2013-B, 2013-W, 2013-C
  • Zimbabwe: 1988-B, 1988-W, 1988-C, 1994-B, 1994-W, 1994-C, 1999-B, 1999-W, 1999-C, 2005-B, 2005-W, 2005-C, 2010-B, 2010-W, 2010-C, 2015-W, 2015-C, 2015-B