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Residence Rules and Ultimogeniture in Tlaxcala and Mesoamerica

David Luke Robichaux
Ethnology
Vol. 36, No. 2 (Spring, 1997), pp. 149-171
DOI: 10.2307/3774080
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3774080
Page Count: 23
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Residence Rules and Ultimogeniture in Tlaxcala and Mesoamerica
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Abstract

The rise of wage labor in rural Tlaxcala, Mexico, created a shorter period of initial virilocal residence and an earlier age at marriage. Along with declining infant mortality rates, these factors led to a rapid increase in population, a larger mean household size, and a higher proportion of extended family domestic groups. But the developmental cycle of domestic groups cannot be explained in economic terms alone. The existence throughout Mesoamerica of the same developmental cycle, characterized by initial virilocal residence and culminating in male ultimogeniture, is a defining trait of the cultural area.

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