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Countries in Africa Where Polygamy Is Legal

To provide scientific answers to these questions, the most recent DUS data from 10 West African countries were used as an analytical framework: Benin (DHS 2017-18), Burkina Faso (2010), Côte d`Ivoire (2011-12), Ghana (2014), Guinea (2018), Mali (2018), Niger (2012), Nigeria (2018), Senegal (2019) and Togo (2013-14). We used this data to create descriptive statistics and implement multivariate regressions to estimate the effects of polygamy on fertility, the average ideal number of children, and the proportion of women using family planning. Control variables included age, residential area, household wealth quintile, education level, occupation, number of women, and rank of wives. For more information on our methods, see Appendix 1. However, due to economic and social constraints, this tradition is disappearing. Polygamy is allowed in many countries around the world. Here are ten of those countries. The following figure shows the descriptive analysis of the total fertility rate (TFR) of women in monogamous compounds and women in polygamous compounds. This is the average number of children a woman would have during her reproductive life if current fertility rates remained stable. The data show no significant difference in fertility rates between women in polygamous partnerships and women in monogamous households in almost all countries. In most countries, a person who marries one person while still legally married to another, bigamy, commits a crime, although penalties vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. In addition, the second and subsequent marriages are considered legally null and void.

Polygamy is civilly prohibited in several African countries, but it is acceptable under customary law, which allows activities that society has long recognized. Europe, Australia and America are among the regions where polygamy is completely banned. Many countries that allow polygamy have Muslim majorities, and the practice is rare in many of them. Less than 1% of Muslim men live with more than one spouse in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Iran and Egypt – all countries where the practice is legal, at least for Muslims. Polygamy is also legal in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and other neighboring countries, but these were not included in the study due to data restrictions. Muslim proponents of polygamy often quote verse 4:3 of the Qur`an, which commands men to take as many women as possible, up to four, and they also point out that the Prophet Muhammad had several wives. Historians have noted that Islamic guidelines on polygamy were published in the middle of the wars in Arabia in the seventh century, when there were many widows and orphans in need of financial support, and polygamy created a system in which they could be cared for. To date, polygamy is more common in places where people, and especially men, tend to die young.

Polyandry is the de facto norm in rural Tibet, although it is illegal under Chinese family law. Polygamy continues in Bhutan[35] in various forms, as it has done since ancient times. It is also found in parts of Nepal,[142] despite its formal illegality in the country. [143] Women`s rights activists argue that the deep-rooted patriarchy that promotes practices such as polygamy is one of the main reasons why the world`s poorest continent now accounts for most of the world`s population growth. However, Conor Freidersdorf argues in the Atlantic that the legalization of polygamy can supposedly lead to higher levels of rape, kidnapping, murder, theft and assault. Some countries where polygamy is legal are not signatories to the IPPR, including Qatar, Oman, Malaysia, Brunei, Saudi Arabia, South Sudan, the United Arab Emirates and the United States; so the IPbpR code does not apply to these countries. [152] The Canadian Department of Justice has argued that polygyny is a violation of international human rights law. [153] Data on the prevalence of polygamous households were part of a Pew Research Center report on household composition by religion worldwide.

Not all people who practice polygamy live in polygamous households. Sometimes two or more women of the same man each have their own home. For more details on the categories of household types, see the methodology. Details on polygamy laws around the world are available from the OECD Development Centre and the UN Human Rights Office.