Volume 23 - Article 7 | Pages 153–190

Ethnic differentials in the timing of family formation: A case study of the complex interaction between ethnicity, socioeconomic level, and marriage market pressure

By Heather Booth

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Date received:20 Aug 2009
Date published:23 Jul 2010
Word count:9109
Keywords:age at first birth, age at marriage, characteristics hypothesis, ethnic differentials, first birth interval, interaction hypothesis, marriage market, minority group hypothesis, norms hypothesis, socioeconomic differentials, timing of family formation


Ethnic differentials in the timing of family formation in Fiji cannot be adequately explained by the norms, characteristics, minority group, and interaction hypotheses. The missing dimensions are socioeconomic level within ethnicity and time, including the marriage market effects of fertility transition. A complex interaction of factors involves underlying norms and the opposing effects of modernisation, including the interaction between socioeconomic level and ethnicity, and the changing marriage market pressures determined by the ethnically differentiated fertility decline consistent with the minority group hypothesis. Within each ethnicity, marriage market pressures are concentrated at lower socioeconomic levels, resulting in decreasing trends in age at marriage, and increased socioeconomic differentiation.

Author's Affiliation

Heather Booth - Australian National University, Australia [Email]

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