Marriage patterns of Iranian ethnic groups during the last two decades: Convergence or continuity of differences?

Document Type : Original Article


1 Assistant Professor of Demography, Department of Social Sciences, Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences, Bu-Ali Sina University, Hamedan, Iran

2 Associate Professor of demography, Department of Demography, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran


Iran is a multi-ethnic society and one of the top ten countries with the highest ethnic diversity in the world. However, the lack of questions about ethnicity in censuses has led to many limitations in comparative studies among ethnic groups. Also, the data of the Socio-Economic Features of the Household survey, which was implemented in 2001, were used to compare the marriage behaviors of ethnic groups with 2018. This study aimed to investigate marriage patterns among different ethnic groups in Iran using National Marriage Survey data. The findings revealed that marriage patterns are different among ethnic groups. A comparison of results with studies from two decades ago shows that although traditional behaviors have declined among all ethnic groups, ethnic differences persist. Generally, ethnic groups can be classified into three categories. Baluchs and Arabs, that have more traditional behaviors. They had a lower average age of marriage. Furthermore, early, consanguineous, arranged and ethnic assortative marriages are more common among them. On the other hand, there are Gilakis, who have modern marriage behaviors compared to other groups, so that they have the highest average age of marriage and the lowest early, consanguineous, and ethnic assortative marriages. The other four ethnic groups are in the middle: Persians, Turks, Kurds and Lors who their behaviors are similar. It seems that socioeconomic inequality and subcultural behaviors of ethnics, are the main determinants of differences.


  • Receive Date: 18 November 2022
  • Revise Date: 01 December 2022
  • Accept Date: 01 December 2022
  • First Publish Date: 01 December 2022