Abstract

Differentials in age at first marriage and being married more than once are discussed for a probability sample of West Malaysian currently married women 15–44 years of age. Both marriage ages and the incidence of multiple marriages vary greatly by race, place of current residence, wife’s education, and husband’s occupation; and the marriage variables are shown to have significant effects on the cumulative fertility of West Malaysian women. Early marriage leads to higher cumulative fertility and multiple marriages lead to lower cumulative fertility. Since the social groups with the highest proportions of early marriages are also those with the highest incidence of multiple marriages, the marriage variables explain some but not all of the variance in cumulative fertility for West Malaysian social groups. After adjustment for the effects of the marriage variables, rural Indian or Pakistani women still have the highest cumulative fertility and urban Chinese women with more than five years of schooling still have the lowest cumulative fertility.

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