International Journal of Human Diversity and Evolution
Coverage: 1923-1941 (Vols. I-XIX) & 1962-2023 (Vols. 1-61)
ISSN 0323-1119 (Print)
ISSN 2570-9127 (Online)
Journal Impact Factor 0.2
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'Kemkes-Grottenthaler A, 2002: Marry in Haste, and Repent at Leisure? Early versus Late Age at Marriage and Reproductive Success: Implications for Mother and Offspring. Anthropologie (Brno) 40, 2: 129-140'.
Age at first marriage has a direct bearing on fertility behaviour. Based on 2,211 family-related entries from family reconstitution, four marriage cohorts could be differentiated. Mean marital age was 24.2 years (s=4.4). Group 1 (n=337) included all early marriages before the age of 20 years. The majority of cases fell into Group 2 (n=1,564) which was made up of women between the ages of 20-28.5 years (mean marital age ± 1σ). Group 3 - (n=218) consisted of individuals aged 28.6-33 years of age (mean marital age + 2σ). Group 4 - (n=92) included all females with marital ages past 33 years. The ages of husband and wife showed a moderate but significant correlation (r=.386**). In 75.8% of the analyzed couples, the male spouse was older. Age differences between the spouses displayed a distinct divergence in both the younger and the older marriage cohort. Thus, younger women married men who were on average several years older [age hypergamy], while older females married men who were some years younger [age hypogamy]. The study at hand could show that early age at marriage is significantly linked to higher sibship size, reduced child and maternal mortality as well as higher absolute reproductive success. While socio-economic factors may have led to an additional compositional effect, the analysis was able to demonstrate that any restriction of the marital fertility span has a serious negative impact on the survival chances of subsequent offspring. In order to maximise their reproductive output, mother and offspring incurred great risks. The deliberate attempt to limit birth spacing via a reduction of breastfeeding not only results in suboptimal intergenetic intervals, but seriously compromises the child's survival chances.
Female age at marriage - Homogamy - Reproductive success - Child mortality - Historical demography

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