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Consanguinity: A major variable in studies on North African reproductive behavior morbidity and mortality?

Bittles, A.H. (1991) Consanguinity: A major variable in studies on North African reproductive behavior morbidity and mortality? In: Demographic and Health Surveys World Conference, 5 - 7 August 1991, Washington D.C., U.S.A. pp. 321-341.

Abstract

Populations of North African countries traditionally marry between close relatives. Employing demographic and health survey data from Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia for the period of 1987-89, this study finds intermarriage and consanguinity to be important biological and sociodemographic phenomena in these populations affecting fertility, morbidity, and mortality. Marriages between 2nd cousins or closer relatives account for up to 49% of all unions in Tunisia. Nubians in Egypt, and Sudan claim a full 61-70% of all marriages at the cousin level. 1st-cousin marriages are, in fact, the most common form of inbred union in the region with preference for such union strongest in rural areas, and declining with increased education. Regardless of domicile or educational level, North African consanguineous couples demonstrate higher total fertility levels (TFR) than nonconsanguineous counterparts. High TFR may, however, be partially offset by greater postnatal, prereproductive mortality, although data limitations do not allow the researcher to distinguish between genetic or environmental factors as the cause of this excess mortality. Given the high prevalence and importance of consanguineous union in North Africa, future demographic studies of this region and others with high levels of inbred marriages should be required to examine the related variables of such union.

Publication Type: Conference Paper
Notes: Appears In: Proceedings of the Demographic and Health Surveys World Conference
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/13262
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