Background: Besides, the presence of national law, the country has to set up its own mid-term and long term goals to bring about a significant reduction in child marriages in Ethiopia. To achieve this, determining the spatial pattern of early marriage and factors associated is important for government, other concerned bodies, program implementers and policy developers to end up early childhood marriage. Thus, the aim of this study was to assess the spatial patterns and associated factors of Early marriage among reproductive-age women in Ethiopia.
Methods: This study analyzed retrospectively a cross-sectional data on a weighted sample of 11,646 women aged 15-49 years after requesting from Ethiopian Demographic and Health Survey 2016 via the link www.measuredhs.com. ArcGIS version 10.7 software was used to visualize spatial distribution for Early marriage. The Bernoulli model was applied using Kilduff SaTScan version 9.6 software to identify significant purely spatial clusters for Early marriage in Ethiopia multiple logistic regression analysis was used to identify factors associated with early marriage. Finally, variables with a p-value<0.05 were considered as statistically significant.
Results: In this analysis, about 62.8% (95%CI: 61.9, 63.74%) of the study participants were married before they reached 18 years. The overall median age at first marriage was 17.1 with IQR 5 years. The high clustering of early marriage was located in Amhara, Afar, and Gambella Regions. In spatial Scan statistics 87 clusters (RR = 1.28, P-value < 0.001) significant primary clusters were identified. The associated factors of early marriage were lesser among women’s attending primary (AOR=0.60; 95%CI: 0.51, 0.71), secondary (AOR=0.19; 95%CI: 0.13, 0.26) and tertiary education (AOR=0.11; 95%CI: 0.07, 0.18). Similarly, women found in Addis Ababa were at a lesser risk of early marriage compared to other regions of the country.
Conclusion: Marriage below age 18 was high in Ethiopia. High-risk area of early marriage was located in Amhara, Afar, and Gambella and special attention should be given for identified risk areas. Therefore, providing educational opportunities to young girls was important in addition to inhibiting the marriage of girls under 18 years.