ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Golden Cage

Stability of the Institution of Marriage in India

The form and nature of marriage and family life have changed over the past few decades in Western societies and in East Asia, but they have taken different pathways. Reproduction is becoming delinked from marriage in the West, while in East Asia remaining single has become more of a norm. Looking at how the various factors operating in these societies impinge on marriages in India, this paper finds that while development has contributed to a significant rise in age at marriage, it has not altered the ultimate proportion of the population getting married by 0-34. These figures are in stark contrast to what is observed in the West and Japan. Deeply rooted in religion and caste, and with marital breakdown facing punishing social and economic costs, the institution of marriage is strong in India and unlikely to show signs of a breakdown in the near future.

The authors are thankful to Vaithilingam, documentation specialist at the IIPS; N Kavitha and Annie George, ISEC; and Senthil Selvan, research assistant.

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