In spite of a law that prohibits early marriage practices in Ethiopia, it is widely practiced in rural as well as urban areas. According to the population and housing census, at country level, of the total 10,412,226 population between the age categories of 10–14 years, 8.26 per cent were married at the time of the study, and 4.14 per cent were divorced, 0.12 per cent were separated, approximately 0.01 per cent were widows and 0.19 per cent were living together as husband and spouse.
This is followed by the second age category that is between 15-19 years. Of the total population of 8,748,344 at the time of the study, 18.02 per cent were married, 1.59 per cent divorced, 0.39 per cent separated, 0.14 per cent widows and 0.212 per cent were living together as husband and spouse.
Early marriage is significantly high in the four regions; Gambela, Somalia, Harari, SNNP, Oromia, and the two federal states; Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa, ranging from 12.86 percent to 8.52 per cent. Early marriage contributes to the growing number of divorce, female headship, illiteracy, as well as poverty. It also affects the family well-being, due to inability to shoulder childcare responsibilities. In a similar fashion, unemployment is considerably high among female as compared to male. This is true in both urban, 27.2 per cent female and 13.7 per cent male and rural areas 4.6 per cent female and 0.9 per cent male are unemployed. Of the total 14,574,844 employed female populations in urban areas 68.5 per cent are unpaid family workers. In the rural areas, of the total 12,967,065 employed female populations, 74.7 percent are under the category of unpaid family workers. According to the study, the number of women working in the informal sector is considerably high as compared to men. The jobs in the informal sector are often characterized by low wages, poor work environment, absence of legal support, limited opportunities for promotion.
FDRE (2007). Population and Housing Census.