*two updates – see below*

dr. faheem younus said he thinks we ought to have a conversation about the bans on cousin marriage in various states in the u.s. he also said he’s looking for a “data driven case to justify a BAN on cousin marriages.”

i’m beginning to wonder if he really means either of those things.

here’s our (short) conversation that we had about the topic on twitter (all of the links i included in these tweets can be found in the previous post):

faheem younus conversation

still waiting for a reply….

update 02/02: i wanted to double-check that figure i gave for 70% cousin marriages in pakistanis in the u.k. just to make sure i remembered right (i have been known to remember incorrectly before! (~_^) ).

the correct figure is (very close to what i recalled): 67% for pakistanis in bradford [page 10 – opens pdf]. that includes first cousins, first cousins-once-removed, and second cousins.

there’s another figure of 46.9% for pakistanis in birmingham, but that’s just first cousins. the figure would likely be quite a bit higher if first cousins-once-removed and second cousins were included.

no mention of double-first-cousin unions. there’s probably some of them, too.

another update 02/02: i checked the following article (the one about bradford) — The frequency of consanguineous marriage among British Pakistani [pdf] — to see if there was anything about double-first-cousin marriages. there were none, but there had been some in the grandparent’s generation [pgs. 187-89] — 100 women were randomnly sampled:

“Fifty five of the women interviewed were married to first cousins. All four possible types of cousin marriage occurred, with the frequencies given in table 3 [mostly fzd (20) and then fbd (17) – h.chick]. No double first cousin marriages were reported in this generation. Nine women were married to first cousins once removed, three to second cousins, and three to more distant relatives (one first cousin twice removed, on second cousin once removed, one third cousin). Thirteen were married with the ‘Biraderi’, a term describing the wider family group. Some of these husbands would be distant relatives, some relatives only by marriage, and some simply originating from the same locality and social group. Only 17 women definitely had completely unrelated husbands….

“In this group of [the respondent’s] grandparents there was a maximum of 33 first cousin marriages, with more marriages (24) among the Biraderi and more (30) to unrelated partners. [there were also 5 double-first-cousin marriages in that generation per table 2. – h.chick]…

“Table 4 shows that the pattern of inbreeding in the population is not uniform: unrelated couples are more likely to have unrelated parents, while married couples of first cousins more often have closely related parents.

The frequency of consanguineous marriage is thought to be falling in most populations as a result of social change and increased mobility…. By contrast, among British Pakistanis the coefficient of inbreeding seems to have increased in a single generaion, from about 0.024 to 0.0375, a figure approaching the highest reported for human populations.

previously: so … why ban cousin marriages?

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