so, i suggested that, aside from whatever it is that makes mexicans mexicans, the history of endogamous mating south of the border would make it difficult for mexicans to assimilate to american society (or what’s left of it) — at least overnight — or even after four generations.

this evening i thought that, since i have so many readers from the u.k. (brilliant!), i’d take a look at the mating patterns of one of the major immigrant groups to britain: pakistanis. how do they compare to mexicans who, really, might not be more inbred than the greeks, a group that also has (had? — at least up until recently) pretty endogamous mating practices.

if you follow the news from the u.k. at all, you know that inbreeding amongst pakistanis has become a matter of public discussion because of the rising healthcare costs (to the national health care system there) due to all the children with various debilitating genetic conditions being born to pakistani couples. the rate of consanguineous marriages in pakistan is reckoned @ 50%+. the figure for first-cousin marriages amongst pakistanis in the u.k. is typically quoted as being 55%.

but, never mind the b*ll*cks first-cousin marriage rates. what about all the rest of it? from “Kinship and Continuity: Pakistani Families in Britain” [pg. 138]:

“This stated preference [for marrying within the family] presumably has some bearing on actual marriage choices, because most marriages do indeed take place with relatives, particularly with first cousins and other close kin. My analysis of the marriages which have taken place so far (mostly during the past 15 years [the book was originally published in 1988]) among the sons and daughters of 24 first-generation couples (see table 5.1) shows 76% of these marriages to be with kin: 59% with cousins, 17% with other kin. Yet marriages also take place with more distant relatives from the same biradari and, in certain circumstances, with unrelated people including people of other castes….”

76% of pakistani marriages in oxford in the 1980s were to first- through-third cousins (a couple of those first-cousins were double-first-cousins, so the genetic relatedness is even closer) — and another 11% were to someone in the same biradari (i.e. patrilineage). that’s a whopping 87% endogamous marriage rate!

whoa.

here is table 5.1:

no doubt, however, the cousin-marriage rates amongst pakistanis in the u.k. are probably decreasing as these immigrants inevitably assimilate to british customs and society … right? [pg. 148]:

“[W]e might reasonably expect, with time, a decline in the proportion of marriages to close kin and an increase in the proportion of marriage with non-kin. This expectation would be in keeping with global trends, because the frequency of close kin marriage is apparently declining in most populations that practice it, as a result of social change and migration. My own observations, however, suggest that there has been no significant increase in the number of marriages with non-kin, nor any necessary decline in the frequency of close-kin marriage. My analysis of the types of marriage made by 70 young Oxford Pakistanis from 24 households over the last 15 years (table 5.1) show 59% of marriages to be with first cousins (and 17% with other kin, and 11% with non-kin of the same biradari)…. Evidence from West Yorkshire … suggests that the rate of first cousin marriage among British Pakistanis has in fact increased…. In their survey of 100 mostly young Pakistani mothers in the postnatal wards of two West Yorkshire hospitals, Darr and Modell asked the young women they interviewed about their mothers’ marriage. They found that among the young mothers, 55% of marriages were with first cousins, 28% to other close and more distant kin and 15% to non-kin. By contrast, of women in the grand-mother generation, 33% were married to first cousins, 24% with the biradari and 30% to non-kin.

whoops!

and, so, how well is pakistani integration in the u.k. going with all this inbreeding? well, “Second generation immigrants in Europe are de-assimilating” and “Young, British Muslims ‘getting more radical.’”

terrific.

edit: i forgot to mention that the pakistanis have been practicing cousin-marriage — specifically father’s brother’s daughter (fbd) cousin-marriage — since at least the 700s when the arabs introduced fbd marriage there, so that’s at least a good 1300 years of inbreeding right there. they probably have been marrying cousins in some way or another for even longer.

previously: assimilation interrupted

update 09/29: see also inbreeding in pakistan

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