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Nuptiality in Latin America

major population processes to be birth, migration and death, then age, sex and

marital status tend to be the first characteristics by which crude measurement

of

these

processes

is

refined.

For

instance,

instead

of

looking

at

a

crude

birth rate (births per thousand in the population) one may wish to look at the

crude birth rate standardized for a population’s age distribution or a birth

rate per thousand women of childbearing age or a birth rate among women at

risk

of

bearing

a

child,

often

a

marital-specific

fertility

rate.

Students

of

migration have found it helpful to differentiate between married people and

others, as well as by their age and sex because married and unmarried people

can

have

notably

different

migration

rates.

Finally,

people

have

been

intrigued to find that married men may have lower mortality than unmarried

counterparts.

Of population-related processes, it has seemed natural to study

nuptiality, because marriage or union formation is associated with the

production of children, but such demographic study developed independently

from

most

sociological

study

of

marriage

and

the

family.

For

instance,

marriage or exposure to the risk of pregnancy, conception and gestation, is

considered an important “proximate determinant” of fertility (Davis and Blake

1956) while demographers usually ignore marriage’s potential effect on other

political,

economic,

social

or

psychological

factors.

Demographers

may

learn

about the European marital pattern of late marriage, little age difference

between spouses and much non-marriage, but mainly in relation to historic

Europe’s

relatively

low

fertility

(Hajnal

1965).

It

was

usually

family

scholars, some of whom were also demographers, who pointed out what late

marriage might mean for women’s employment, ability to own property, and/or

general

social

status.

In

general,

until

women

demographers

such

as

Judith

Blake or Ruth Dixon (now Dixon-Mueller) came along, how the European marriage

pattern or any pattern for that matter was related to gender relations was a

3

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