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Nuptiality in Latin America

formalized through legal marriage.

NUPTIALITY IN LATIN AMERICA 1950 TO 1980

If a demographic vi

ew of marriage generall

y involves issues of formation

and dissolution, we have

to add and begin with

a third issue, that of union

type, since we have seen

that formal marriage i

s not the only kind of

“marriage” in Latin Amer

ica.

Also

included

her

e must be the formalization of

what had started as an i

nformal union, sometime

s even after the children are

ul to consider both the

timing and prevalence of first

age” includes all union

s, not just formal ones (e.g.

must consider the unof

ficial breakdown of informal

old enough to leave home

generally found it helpf

“marriage,” where “marri

1990).

Dissolution

also

.

When

viewing

formati

on, the United Nations has

unions as well as formal

divorce or separation

from legal marriage, especially

since divorce was often

illegal until recently.

It still was in Chile and

Paraguay in 1987 (Quale

1988).

Union Type

Although historic accounts of colonial “marriageways” (marriage-like

unions in McCaa’s view) allude to the commonality of non-marital sexual

relations,

one

is

still

left

to

wonder

how

common

this

was.

Probably

unknowable for the past, at least now most Latin American censuses include a

marital status of “consensual union” (really just not formally married) along

with

married.

“married”

and

This

was

not

“single”

(and

always

the

separated

case

as

they

or

widowed).

used

to

Indeed,

only

the

recognize

situation

was

so surreal that Hajnal (1965) omitted Latin America from his worldwide study

of nuptiality with the observation that the Latin American data were “largely

12

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