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Age at First Marriage in Peninsular Malaysia

Barbara Von Elm and Charles Hirschman
Journal of Marriage and Family
Vol. 41, No. 4 (Nov., 1979), pp. 877-891
DOI: 10.2307/351487
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/351487
Page Count: 15
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Age at First Marriage in Peninsular Malaysia
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Abstract

The average age at marriage among women in Peninsular Malaysia has risen dramatically from 18.5 years in 1947 to 22.3 years in 1970 (based on census data calculations of the "singulate mean age at marriage"). This paper examines the socioeconomic determinants of the average age at first marriage among women age 25-44 in 1966-1967 who were interviewed in a cross-sectional fertility survey of currently married women in Peninsular Malaysia. Substantial differentials in age at first marriage are associated with ethnicity, years of formal schooling, and premarital work experience, while lesser differences are observed for social and geographic origins. Ethnic differences in age at first marriage remain wide even after statistically controlling for other socioeconomic background variables. A life-cycle model of the effects of social background variables on age at first marriage is estimated using dummy variable regression analysis. Post-primary schooling and working before marriage are the strongest variables that delay age at first marriage. These patterns are common to all ethnic communities. As more women participate in higher education and in employment, age at first marriage will probably be further delayed.

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