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Nuptiality in Latin America

1950

to

not

quite

22

around

1980.

Likewise

despite a range for men, an

average mean appears to have declined from a

lmost 26 around 1950 to around 25

in

1980.

See

Figure

2.

The

age

at

first

un

ion for both males and females in

Latin America appears “intermediate,” since

a European late age might be over

23 for women and over 27 for men and an earl

y age might be 20 for women (early

and intermediate age at first union for men

does not appear to be an issue

that

has

been

addressed)

(U.N.

1990).

The

n

arrowing age gap between males and

females could be indicative of what demograp

hers often refer to as a “marriage

squeeze” or a mismatch between available men

and

available

women.

Greene

and

Rao (1995) suggest that a marriage squeeze i

n Brazil has resulted in an

increase in consensual unions because males

can then “circulate” better than

if they were permanently matched with someon

e.

A

marriage

squeeze

in

favor

of

males may more generally give them more leve

rage in any situation while we may

start seeing the opposite in the future in p

laces like India, China and Korea

where there appears to be a gross selection

in favor of the survival of male

infants

at

present.

(One

wonders

how

many

  • o

    f those prized males will be

matched with a spouse later on.)

FIGURE 2 ABOUT HERE

We should pause here to note that the figures are based on a measure, the

“singulate mean age at marriage” (SMAM) that was developed to make use of

census data on marital status and deal with a differing incidence of non-

marriage

(Hajnal

1953).

Of

various

ways

to

measure

an

average

age

at

first

marriage, SMAM has become quite popular, but it should be remembered that it

will provide slightly different numbers from other measures, even ones based

on census data instead of vital registration statistics (from registrations

and

such)

(Shryock

and

Siegel

1973).

In

addition,

it

should

be

mentioned

that

18

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