This study examines how demographic and attitudinal variables are associated with Black South African women's desire to marry. Data from the South African Social Attitudes Survey are used to measure the impact of age, education, living standard, religiosity, urbanicity, cohabitation, and attitudes towards woman's careers, the acceptability of cohabitation, gender roles, unwed childbearing, and the financial and emotional security marriage provides on the desire to marry. Analyses indicate the following are associated with the desire to marry among Black South African women: age, cohabitation, attitudes towards cohabitation, and attitudes towards the financial and emotional security marriage provides. Secondly, data from in-depth interviews with 13 young, college-attending, Black South African women are used to give further insight into the impact of these variables on the desire to marry. Analyses of the interview data suggest that young Black South African women desire to marry but feel constrained in choice of eligible partners by the prevalence of infidelity, AIDS, domestic violence, and economic uncertainty. Additionally, educated, young, Black South African women feel less pressure to marry than older generations due to their emerging economic power and society's increasing acceptance of cohabitation, unwed childbirth, and postponement of marriage.



College and Department

Family, Home, and Social Sciences; Sociology



Date Submitted


Document Type





South Africa, desire to marry, attitudes towards marriage, women, infidelity, AIDS, domestic violence, education, cohabitation, attitudes towards cohabitation

Included in

Sociology Commons