Transitional effects on the timing of family formation: a comparative case study of the Fijian and Indian populations of Fiji

Heather Booth, Australian National University

Rapid changes have occurred over recent decades in the timing of family formation in Fiji, notably in the Indian population. These changes can be related to socio-economic development, both directly and indirectly through past fertility declines which resulted in changed marriage markets. This analysis of family formation is based on census data for 1986 and 1996. The singulate mean at marriage and the mean age at first birth are used to examine trends and differentials in family formation for the Fijian and Indian populations of Fiji. Ethnic differentials are examined in the light of four competing hypotheses, namely the norms, characteristics, minority group and interaction hypotheses. These hypotheses do not adequately explain the patterns of change in Fiji. A new hypothesis is formulated to take into account both the effects of earlier stages of the demographic transition and recent modernisation on current transitions in family formation.

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Presented in Poster Session 2