Archives for posts with tag: marriage

from a new pew survey:

- About 15% of all new marriages in the United States in 2010 were between spouses of a different race or ethnicity from one another, more than double the share in 1980 (6.7%). Among all newlyweds in 2010, 9% of whites, 17% of blacks, 26% of Hispanics and 28% of Asians married out. Looking at all married couples in 2010, regardless of when they married, the share of intermarriages reached an all-time high of 8.4%.

- Gender patterns in intermarriage vary widely. About 24% of all black male newlyweds in 2010 married outside their race, compared with just 9% of black female newlyweds…. Intermarriage rates among white and Hispanic newlyweds do not vary by gender.

- [W]hite/Asian newlyweds of 2008 through 2010 have significantly higher median combined annual earnings ($70,952) than do any other pairing, including both white/white ($60,000) and Asian/Asian ($62,000). When it comes to educational characteristics, more than half of white newlyweds who marry Asians have a college degree, compared with roughly a third of white newlyweds who married whites. Among Hispanics and blacks, newlyweds who married whites tend to have higher educational attainment than do those who married within their own racial or ethnic group.

- Couples formed between an Asian husband and a white wife topped the median earning list among all newlyweds in 2008-2010 ($71,800)…. As for white female newlyweds, those who married a Hispanic or black husband had somewhat lower combined earnings than those who “married in,” while those who married an Asian husband had significantly higher combined earnings.

- Intermarriage in the United States tilts West. About one-in-five (22%) of all newlyweds in Western states married someone of a different race or ethnicity between 2008 and 2010, compared with 14% in the South, 13% in the Northeast and 11% in the Midwest.

- Several studies using government data have found that overall divorce rates are higher for couples who married out than for those who married in….

looks like a big report. lots to read. and data, too (state-by-state even)!

(note: comments do not require an email. snow day!)

Sickle-cell mystery solved“Researchers discover how carriers of the sickle-cell anaemia gene are protected from malaria.”

The Western European marriage pattern – @evoandproud.

How Humans Became Social

Study: Flynn effect is not caused by hybrid vigor – @the inductivist.

Behavioral Economics Foils an Obama Tax Cut?

Women see naked men differently too – women objectify men, too! who knew?! (well, i did… (~_^) )

Crowds R Us

Researchers find risk-taking behavior rises until age 50“Women and men follow the same trajectory, with men more willing to compete, through the lifespan.”

According to, the Hispanic community is the fastest growing community when it comes to infidelity – @diversity is chaos.

35% of men from rural Brazil have had sex with an animal, study finds

A Black Gift for Politics? – from the derb.

bonus: These May Be The Droids Farmers Are Looking For – we need more of these!

bonus bonus: Is the tide turning against the killing of ‘cursed’ infants in Ethiopia?

bonus bonus bonus: Harrison Bergeron – h/t anonymous for the link!

(note: comments do not require an email. edit: insert your own witty joke here since i forgot to!)

in looking for an explanation for why democracy today works better in northern as opposed to southern italy, putnam, et. al., point to the long history of civic behavior in northern italy, stretching back to the middle ages, in contrast to the feudal system of southern italy which lasted really into the 1800s [pg. 130]:

“In the North the crucial social, political, and even religious allegiances and alignments were horizontal, while those in the South were vertical. Collaboration, mutual assistance, civic obligation, and even trust — not universal, of course, but extending further beyond the limits of kinship than anywhere else in Europe in this era — were the distinguishing features in the North. The chief virtue in the South, by contrast, was the imposition of hierarchy and order on latent anarchy.”

in other words, northern italy was full of republican communes, while the south was run from the top down by the monarch.

medieval communes were a type of corporate society, but you can’t have a corporate society if you have clans or tribes or any sort of extended families produced by extensive inbreeding. you need a good deal of outbreeding to get the republican communes that putnam talks about. you need to have a society full of individuals looking out for their own best interests, and those of their immediate family (wife, children), as opposed to a society of extended families or clans or tribes looking out for the interests of their whole group. then, because of the effects of inbreeding on the evolution of social behaviors, you get clan vs. clan, not individuals coming together in guilds to promote their profession or mutal aid societies.

so, what were the mating patterns of northern and southern italians during the medieval period?

i don’t have any info (yet) for southern italy, but samuel kline cohn, jr., in Marriage in the Mountains, 1348-1500 (pg. 174+), finds that the marriage system of the people in the areas surrounding florence was very exogamous in the late-fourteenth and fifteenth centuries — a full three-quarters of the people married outside their parish, and just about half married beyond the pieve, a secular district larger than, and encompassing, the parishes. to me, that sounds potentially more exogamous than nineteenth and twentieth century rural greece in which the people had a preference for marrying within their village or to someone in a neighboring village. it was certainly much more exogamous than marriage patterns in twentieth century sicily and other parts of southern italy.

kline cohn doesn’t examine cousin marriages, but i think it’s safe to say that marriages over greater geographic distances (his “cross-boundary marriages,” for instance) are prolly unlikely to represent any close inbreeding. his data, btw, relates mostly to peasants:

pg. 192:

“The marriage records for the mountains of the early Renaissance in the territory of Florence do not highlight isolated communities, hollows of cultural and biological endogamy. Rather, it was in the plains near the city that one-third of those sampled married within their own parish….

“When the second geographical rung is considered — that of the pieve or the newer secular districts — little difference appears between these three regions. But a glance at a map shows that such intermarriages in the mountains could cover considerably more distance than in the smaller pievi of the plains surrounding the city of Florence….”

so, that’s one example of quite exogamous marriage patterns in northern medieval italy.

previously: democracy in italy

(note: comments do not require an email. another chick!)

from the nature article about autism that i linked to yesterday:

“A 2010 analysis of autism diagnoses in California did not find that autism clustered preferentially around areas rich in IT industry. Instead, it found that clusters tended to occur in areas where parents were older and educated to a higher level than were parents in surrounding areas.”

several studies have found a correlation between age of parents and autism:

- Both Parents’ Ages Linked to Autism Risk
- Link Between Advanced Maternal Age and Autism Confirmed
- Advanced Parental Age and the Risk of Autism Spectrum Disorder

given the fact that northwestern europeans have a long tradition of late marriage — i’m thinking of the hajnal line here — could that account, at least in part, for what appears to be such a large number of systemizers amongst european populations?


(note: comments do not require an email. you don’t have to be a systemizer either [although it would probably help (~_^) ].

a familiar pattern … asian < white < hispanic < black … but this time with regard to divorce in first marriages:

“First-time divorce rate tied to education, race”

“The data for the family profile, ‘First Divorce Rate, 2010′ were gathered by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2010. At that time, the rate of first divorce in the U.S. was 17.5 per 1,000 women 18 years old and older in a first marriage. According to the research, recent declines in the probability of divorce largely reflect an increase in marital stability among the more educated….

“Broken down by race and ethnicity, the study found Asian women have the lowest first divorce rate at 10 divorces per 1,000 women in a first marriage. The first divorce rates of white and Hispanic women were similar at 16.3 and 18.1, respectively. African-American women have substantially higher rates of first divorce compared to all other racial and ethnic groups, at 30.4 divorces per 1,000 women in a first marriage…..”

also, a higher iq (i.e. a college degree) correlated with a lower divorce rate.

(note: comments do not require an email. leaving divorce court.)

since ihtg pointed out that at least some ethiopians — including ethiopian jews — have a tradition of avoiding any close-cousin marriages (out to sixth cousins!), i’ve been trying to read up on the ethiopians.

it seems to have been the amhara who started this tradition in ethiopia — or, at least, the other groups who also practice “generation counting” picked it up from the amhara via a general ongoing amharization process that happened throughout ethiopia over the centuries. the amhara are the ethnic group that have been the most literate and have produced the most royals throughout ethiopian history. they have been the bearers of ethiopia’s high culture.

my questions are:

- for how long have the amhara/other ethiopian groups been practising such strong cousin-marriage avoidance?
- how is the practice enforced?
- are they endogamous in some other way, like the greeks avoiding the nearest cousins but marrying locally, or do they marry completely exogamously? do they keep marrying within their kin-group, or do they marry completely out of their kin-group?
- and, what is amharan society like? is it open, individualistic, trusting? or is it closed, clannish, hostile? is there any evidence here to support the idea that outbreeding leads to more a more open society, or is that idea totally bunk?

the following are just some notes based on what i’ve read in the last day or so, so it’s obviously not the final word on the matter!

the rule for counting out seven generations to determine whom one can marry is part of the ethiopian (amharan) law code, the fetha negest [pg. 134, pg. 10 of the pdf], which was compiled in 1240 by an egyptian copt and later adopted in ethiopia in 1450. so, if the first introduction of this seven generation rule only goes back to 1450 — well, that’s pretty far back, but it doesn’t compare to the 400s for european tribes. in this scenario, the european tribes would’ve had a one thousand year headstart, give or take a few hundred years here and there. (if you haven’t been following along, it’s more complicated than that. see the Inbreeding in Europe series down below in the left-hand column for more details.)

christianity, though, has been around in ethiopia for much longer than that. it became the official state religion in 330 a.d., but there were probably christians in the region even earlier. and the church in ethiopia had long been tied to the coptic church in egypt, so if the seven generations thing was present in egypt earlier (and it seems to have at least been talked about as early as 1240), then perhaps it was present in ethiopia before 1450 as well. difficult to know.

in any case, the seven generations thing does seem to have been introduced to the ethiopians from the copts in egypt (unless it was a general egyptian/ethiopian practice that was just codified in the 1200s in egypt), so i’m guessing that it was not an indigenous ethiopian practice.

how is this seven generations thing enforced? by tradition, it seems. marriage in ethiopia is generally not a religious affair, i.e. most people traditionally did not get married in the church. royals and some aristocracy did, but not peasants [pg. 795]:

“Although it is generally agreed that the Amhara and the Tegranna-speakers recognize several different forms of legitimate marriage, observers are unanimous in reporting that marriage as a sacrament performed within the church … was rare compared to the various other options. Among the comparatively few who choose this option are priests and their spouses. It is also found among elderly couples, who have been married in another form of ceremony and celebrate a church wedding when they realize that they will not divorce or re-marry.

“Samanya is marriage by a civil contract, and is the generally preferred form. Although it is in accord with the law of the Church, and the agreement between the families may be followed by a religious ceremony, and official Church ceremony whether Orthodox or other is rare.”

so, at least in modern times, the out-marrying regulation has not been enforced by the church, unlike the ban on cousin-marriage by the catholic and, later, protestant churches in europe. in europe, it would’ve been difficult, if not impossible, to marry various cousins (depending on the time period) without permission from the church. in ethiopia, nowadays anyways, the church is not the enforcer.

divorce and re-marriage — and affairs — are also rampant in ethiopia. how long this has been the case, i don’t know. is the seven generation thing followed in all these instances? or just in the case of first-marriages? on divorce in ethiopia [pg. 797]:

“Many authors have commented on the instability of marriage in Ethiopia. This appears to be due to a combination of cultural and historical circumstances. Marriage may often end in divorce because the couple themselves often have little say in the choice of spouses. On the other hand, later marriage may be fragile bonds, because there is little family involvement and hence little pressure to maintain the union.”

so, what’s amharan society like [pg. 231]?:

“Traditional Amhara social structure took the form of a peasant society. Agriculturalists subsist on the ox-drawn plough-cultivation of cereal grains and herding of livestock…. They live in households that function as a unit of political economy, an oikos, rather than a kinship unit. Its members each carry out specific tasks assigned according to gender and other status markers, all under the authority of a single senior male. Each household lives in a compound containing a small number of round buildings built of wattle or stone, capped with conical thatched roofs. Homesteads usually are located on land worked by the peasant, though often a number of them group into hamlets.

“Beyond that, Amhara households have been linked to one another along three separate axes. Economically, they are linked through weekly markets. Politically, they were linked traditionally by obligations to lord over seigniories who held rights to tribute referred to as gelt, such that traditional Amhara society may be classed usuefully as feudal. Since the bureaucratization of public administration following World War II, household have been subordinated to subdistrict, district and provincial governors. Ecclesiastically, they have been linked through parishes, named after the sacred ark of its church, often coterminous with one or more local seigniories. Traditionally, Amhara churches have been supported through gelt right to usufruct and labour.”

sounds rather medieval-europe-like. there’s more:

“With respect to kinship, Amhara persons are linked through an ambilineal descent system. The Amhara rule of exogamy, prescribed in the Feth Nagast, requires that marriage-partners not be closer then ‘seven houses’; that is, not have a common great-great-great-grandparent. Kinship ties figure to some extent in connection with avenging murders, but primarily through determining the distribution of rights to the use of land. Other forms of Amhara social relations include the daily coffee klatch; monthly religious feasting associations in honour of a particular saint or angel; arrangement for reciprocal help in connection with farming, housebuilding and feasting; and voluntary dyadic personal relations including godparent-child, guarantor-guarantee and, pervasively, patron-client ties.”

clientelism?! ruh-roh.

more anon!

previously: mating patterns and society in ethiopia

(note: comments do not require an email. ethiopian homestead.)

sixteenth century germany!:

“For most polemicists, the only possible motivation of ecclesiastical authorities in creating and maintaining such a system [in which minors could marry without their parents' permission] was sheer avarice. In addition to charging for the various dispensations (most commonly for cases of third- or fourth-degree consanguinity), bishops and officials made money from all related marital litigation, such as dissolution and separation cases. Outraged by such abuses, reformers attacked both the law and its enforcement with a brutality rivaled only by related anticlerical tracts on concubinage and simony. Luther castigated Church legal authorities as ‘[sellers] of vulvas and genitals — merchandise indeed most worthy of such merchants, grown altogether filthy and obscene through greed and godlessness.’ As far as he could see, the only purpose of creating the ‘snares’ of impediments was to ‘catch’ money — sentiments echoed by Johann Brenz: ‘Perhaps [the pope] had his eye on money and filling the coffers, and for that reason forbade certain degrees, so that they could be dissolved again if one had the money.’”

previously: guess when and where!

(note: comments do not require an email. or an indulgence.)

don’t cheat (i.e. google). i’ll post the solution in the a.m. (^_^)

“At the beginning of … in … the institution of marriage seemed to many contemporaries to be under a state of siege. The growing proliferation of tracts and dialogues satirizing the sorry state of the institution has led many historians to the same conclusion. Sexual promiscuity, according to critics, ran rampant in all areas of society, making a mockery of the [religious] teachings on both marriage and celibacy. Whether [religious] leaders and [non-religious authorities] were unwilling or unable to stop the marital chaos provided a subject of much debate among the new reformers of marriage. The detrimental effects on the dignity of the estate of marriage, meanwhile, seemed obvious to many observers….

“Nothing more clearly illustrated the crisis of patriarchal authority for … than the specter of clandestine marriages among minors. Combining both outright defiance of paternal authority with perceptions of official [religious authority] indifference or even avarice, these illicit unions provided the symbolic whipping boy of all … marriage reformers.”

all sounds very “today,” doesn’t it? marriage under a state of siege, young people recklessly “hooking up,” etc., etc.

update: solution

(note: comments do not require an email. marriage crisis crisis.)


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 229 other followers