The Marriage and Fertility Revolutions in Asia

Terence H. Hull, Australian National University

Across Asia, the patterns of marriage have been changing is dramatic and complex ways. While attention has been focused on the delay in the age at marriage of both women and men, changes to patterns of divorce, widowhood and singlehood have been equally important in shaping family formations across the region. This paper utilizes a standard index of marital status to compare trends over time and differences between nations. This method is particularly useful in highlighting the potential impact of changing marital behavior on the fertility levels and trends in Asia. In particular, it points to the contradictory influences that marriage, divorce and widowhood have on fertility, and how the net impact has been to reduce fertility. This analysis points to numerous implications concerning the future trends in fertility if current marriage trends continue and open the chance to speculate on impacts of changing marriage behavior.

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Presented in Session 120: The Marriage Revolution in Asia