Environmental Vulnerability and Early Marriage in Southern Bangladesh
Sigma Ainul, Population Council
Sajeda Amin, Population Council
This paper explores the influence of environmental change on the risks of early marriage among adolescent girls. The paper uses qualitative evidence to characterize communities according to the presence of four key indicators of environmental change—river erosion, increased salinity in land, recent history of cyclones (Sidr and Aila) and presence of displaced persons in organized settlements residing in abasan areas. 72 communities were explored and classified according to these characteristics and linked to a survey among 9000 adolescent girls. Analysis of covariates of early marriage rates indicate that while there is no evidence of higher risks of early marriage in river erosion, cyclone affected and salinity affected areas, abasan communities that are characterized by a higher proportion of displaced persons in the community have significantly higher early marriage rates. These community effects persist in models that control for wealth, education and other demographic characteristics of the population.