We conducted a population-based study of consanguineous marriages in Jordan. About two thousand households were interviewed. First cousin marriages were encountered in 32.03%, second cousin in 6.8%, distant relation in 10.5%, and no relation in 50% of all marriages, respectively. Inbreeding coefficients were compared with those of other countries. The most important variables affecting inbreeding were social tradition, religion, education, and place of residence--urban vs. rural. Secular trends appear rather stable since the early decades of the twentieth century, especially for first cousin marriages. Jordan society showed a deeply rooted traditional behavioral pattern when inbreeding is considered.
PIP: Consanguineous marriage in Jordan is examined in a retrospective survey of 1995 households in 1980. The sample was stratified in 2 stages and self-weighing. The research objective was to determine the extent, patterns, characteristics, significant factors affecting inbreeding, and continuity over time. Interviewers collected data on dwelling, age, education, consanguinity, marriage arrangement, religion, number of pregnancies, place of residence, contraceptive use, and parent's marital patterns. The results were 51.25% of all marriages were consanguineous: 33% among first cousins, 6.8% among second cousins, 10.5% among distant relatives, and 49.7% no relation. The inbreeding in Jordan is compared with inbreeding incidence in Lebanon, Kuwait, Egypt, and Turkey; it appears that prevalence is associated with a Muslim affiliation. The rural population had a significantly higher proportion of first cousin consanguineous marriages. Urban and semi urban dwellers had similar second marriages. There were 29.82% first cousin marriages in urban areas, 30.99% in semi urban areas, and 37.91% in rural areas. Education (literate vs. illiterate) and consanguinity was negatively correlated for all unions and male unions, i.e., higher education levels had more unrelated unions. When educational level is differentiated, the university educated group behaves like the illiterate group. Life explanation is that the "best" males are pressured to remain within the family. Female university graduates showed greater freedom in selection of husbands. 66% were living in independent households, and the other 33% with the husband's family. 80% of marriages were arranged and educational level is an important determining factor. Consanguinity of marriage was significantly associated with parent's consanguinity. Comparison with trends in the 1920s indicates that first cousin marriages have remained stable.