Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Families in Southeast and South Asia

Wei-Jun Jean, Yeung and Desai, Sonalde and Gavin W., Jones (2018): Families in Southeast and South Asia. Published in: Annual Review of Sociology (2018): pp. 469-495.

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Southeast and South Asia are home to one-third of the world’s population. Their great economic and cultural diversities make generalization about family patterns and trends hazardous. We review literature on trends in fertility, marriage, divorce, and living arrangements in the past half century. Explanations focus on structural and ideological changes related to socioeconomic development, cultural factors including kinship system, religion and ethnicity, and public policies. While the impact of rapid modernization and related ideational changes are evident, there are also changes, or lack thereof, that cannot be explained by development and may be attributable to historical and cultural factors that have shaped family norms in the region. The following trends are evident: (1) declining fertility and rising age at marriage, although teenage and arranged marriages remain common in South Asia, (2) a majority of elderly continue to live with or are supported by their children, (3) divorce and out-of-wedlock childbearing remain relatively rare.

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