n African Review of Economics and Finance - Differences in subjective well-being within households : an analysis of married and cohabiting couples in South Africa

Volume 7, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 2042-1478
  • E-ISSN: 2410-4906


We investigate differences in subjective well-being (life satisfaction) within the household using matched data on co-resident couples drawn from the 2008 National Income Dynamics Study for South Africa. The majority of men and women in co-resident partnerships report different levels of subjective well-being. We use regression analysis first to explore the correlates of subjective well-being among women, and among men, who are married or cohabiting. We then estimate the predictors of within-couple differences in life satisfaction. Our results suggest that a number of correlates, related particularly to the roles and responsibilities of women and men in the household, differ by gender and also predict differences in subjective well-being within couples. For example, access to piped water on site increases the subjective well-being of women in comparison both to other married or cohabiting women and to the woman's partner, but it does not account for differences in subjective well-being among married or cohabiting men. In contrast, the presence of young children in the household lowers the subjective well-being of women, while there is no such relationship for men. Furthermore, within couples, women's relative satisfaction falls with the presence of young children in the household.

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


Article metrics loading...


This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error