From Marriage to Parenthood: Trends in the Timing of Marriage and First Birth in Asia

Kerry MacQuarrie, University of Washington

This paper examines trends in the timing of marriage and first birth in South and Southeast Asia, with a particular focus on how the duration of the first birth interval changes as age at marriage increases. It uses multiple waves of DHS data from Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam. Marriage is marked by two regional patterns: later (early 20’s) in Southeast Asia and earlier (14-17) and more universal in South Asia. In all six countries, age at marriage increased across surveys and with successive cohorts. Given the literature, a relationship between later marriage and shorter first birth interval would be expected. In contrast to this expectation, the first birth interval decreased in three countries but lengthened in the other three, with no regional pattern discernible. The paper next analyzes first birth interval by ethnicity, religion, education, and socioeconomic status to attempt to explain this observed variation.

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Presented in Poster Session 7