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Bias in Age at Marriage in Family Reconstitutions: Evidence from French- Canadian Data

Bertrand Desjardins
Population Studies
Vol. 49, No. 1 (Mar., 1995), pp. 165-169
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2175327
Page Count: 5
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Bias in Age at Marriage in Family Reconstitutions: Evidence from French- Canadian Data
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Abstract

Age-at-marriage estimates from family reconstitutions may be biased downward when they are based only on marriages of people who continue to live in their parish of birth, because when the probability of migrating rises with age, younger people are selected in preference to older ones. Micro-simulations show that the bias can have dramatic effects. In this paper French-Canadian data are used to investigate the importance of the bias and to verify empirically the micro-simulation results. Although a high proportion of people moved between birth and marriage, the bias had virtually no effect, given the specific characteristics of the migrations. If one cannot avoid discussing the timing of migration before marriage, when measuring age at first marriage using only data on "stayers", it is just possible that in most settings, it is the same for those who lived in their parish of birth, and those who had moved.

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