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Age Patterns of Marriage

Ansley J. Coale
Population Studies
Vol. 25, No. 2 (Jul., 1971), pp. 193-214
DOI: 10.2307/2173210
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2173210
Page Count: 22
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Age Patterns of Marriage
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Abstract

In different populations there is a common curve describing first-marriage frequency (first marriages per woman) as a function of age for each cohort. To fit the variety of patterns of human nuptiality it suffices to choose the age that serves as origin for a standard curve of first-marriage frequency, and to choose appropriate horizontal and vertical scales for the curve. The prevalence of a standard form for first-marriage frequency implies that the proportion ever-married in any cohort also rises along a standard curve, subject to choice of origin (the earliest age of first marriage), vertical scale (the proportion ever-marrying by the end of life), and horizontal scale (the pace at which the proportion ever-married increases with age). A mathematical expression (a double exponential) is found to fit the risk of first marriage (among those who ever marry), and some of the implications of uniform features of nuptiality in different populations are discussed.

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