Modelling the constraints on consanguineous marriage when fertility declines

Barakat, Bilal and Basten, Stuart (2014) Modelling the constraints on consanguineous marriage when fertility declines. Demographic Research, 30 (9). pp. 277-312. ISSN 1435-9871

Available under License Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Germany (CC BY-NC 2.0 DE).

Download (1MB)


BACKGROUND Consanguinity - or marriage between close blood relatives, in particular first cousins - is widely practised and even socially encouraged in many countries. However, in the face of fertility transition where the number of cousins eligible to marry declines, how might such constraints on consanguinity develop in the future? OBJECTIVE Numerous studies have stated that the practice cannot continue at present levels and in its present form in the face of fertility transition. However, the future impact of fertility transition on availability of cousins to marry has not yet been quantified. METHODS We perform a simulation exercise using past and projected net reproduction rates (NRRs) derived from the UN. We calculate the average number of cousins of the opposite sex as a function of the average number of children, the average probability of an individual having at least one eligible paternal cousin of the opposite sex, and conclude with an examination of constraints on consanguineous marriage in selected countries under different fertility assumptions. RESULTS Current and projected fertility levels in Middle Eastern countries will create challenging constraints on the custom once today's birth cohorts reach marriageable age. CONCLUSIONS Either consanguinity prevalence will diminish significantly, or the institution will be forced to adapt by becoming more coercive in the face of reduced choice or at the expense of other social preferences (such as for an older groom wedding a younger bride). Fertility decline affects prospects for social change not only through its well-known consequences for mothers but also through shaping marriage conditions for the next generation.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: consanguineous marriage, fertility transition, modelling
Divisions: Departments > Sozioökonomie > Sozialpolitik > Demographie > Wittgenstein Centre
Version of the Document: Published
Depositing User: ePub Administrator
Date Deposited: 02 Oct 2017 16:57
Last Modified: 17 Jul 2020 15:08
Related URLs:


View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics