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Changes in the Institution of Marriage in Egypt from 1998 to 2012


  • Rania Salem

    () (University of Toronto)


Fear over the perceived breakdown of the institution of marriage plagues many Egyptian policy-makers and members of the public. This study examines the trajectory of marriage behaviors in three nationally-representative surveys spanning the period 1998 to 2012 to determine whether this fear is justified. It also investigates socio-demographic variations in marriage practices at each time point. Overall, this study finds that marriage is nearly universal in Egyptian society, and both never-marriage and divorce are extremely rare over time and across all socio-demographic groups. Between 1998 and 2006, marriage was increasingly postponed to older ages, but starting in 2006, marriage began occurring earlier in the life-cycle for some groups. At the same time, in the period 2006 to 2012, engagement durations have risen slightly, unions between first cousins have declined slightly, and nuclear families are established by a considerably higher percentage of newlyweds upon marriage. Finally, there is some empirical support for the claim that marriage expenditures have risen over time.

Suggested Citation

  • Rania Salem, 2015. "Changes in the Institution of Marriage in Egypt from 1998 to 2012," Working Papers 911, Economic Research Forum, revised May 2015.
  • Handle: RePEc:erg:wpaper:911

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ragui Assaad & Christine Binzel & May Gadallah, 2010. "Transitions To Employment And Marriage Among Young Men In Egypt," Middle East Development Journal (MEDJ), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 2(01), pages 39-88.
    2. repec:cai:poeine:pope_505_0505 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Cited by:

    1. May Gadallah & Rania Roushdy & Maia Sieverding, 2017. "Young People’s Gender Role Attitudes Over the Transition to Adulthood in Egypt," Working Papers 1122, Economic Research Forum, revised 07 2017.
    2. Caroline Krafft, 2020. "Why is fertility on the rise in Egypt? The role of women’s employment opportunities," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 33(4), pages 1173-1218, October.
    3. Irène Selwaness & Caroline Krafft, 2018. "The Dynamics of Family Formation and Women’s Work: What Facilitates and Hinders Female Employment in the Middle East and North Africa?," Working Papers 1192, Economic Research Forum, revised 10 May 2018.
    4. Assaad, Ragui & Krafft, Caroline, 2017. "Excluded Generation: The Growing Challenges of Labor Market Insertion for Egyptian Youth," GLO Discussion Paper Series 110, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    5. Ragui Assaad & Caroline Krafft & Dominique J. Rolando, 2017. "The Role of Housing Markets in the Timing of Marriage in Egypt, Jordan, and Tunisia," Working Papers 1081, Economic Research Forum, revised 04 Oct 2017.
    6. Ragui Assaad & Samir Ghazouani & Caroline Krafft, 2017. "Marriage, Fertility, and Women’s Agency in Tunisia," Working Papers 1157, Economic Research Forum, revised 11 2017.
    7. Ragui Assaad & Caroline Krafft & Shaimaa Yassin, 2018. "Comparing retrospective and panel data collection methods to assess labor market dynamics," IZA Journal of Migration and Development, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 8(1), pages 1-34, December.
    8. Caroline Krafft & Ragui Assaad, 2017. "Employment’s Role in Enabling and Constraining Marriage in the Middle East and North Africa," Working Papers 1080, Economic Research Forum, revised 04 Oct 2017.
    9. Rania Salem & Sarah Shah, 2019. "Economic rationales for kin marriage: Assessing the evidence using Egyptian panel data," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 41(19), pages 545-578.
    10. Jenny Liu & Sepideh Modrek & Maia Sieverding, 2017. "The mental health of youth and young adults during the transition to adulthood in Egypt," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 36(56), pages 1721-1758.

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