The aim of the present study was to determine the changing prevalence of consanguineous marriage in India between two national-level surveys. The primary hypothesis was whether region of residence and religious affiliation continue to play a significant role in determining consanguineous marriage even after controlling other potentially significant confounding variables. Data from the 81,781 and 85,851 ever-married women during the survey periods 1992-1993 (NFHS-1) and 2015-2016 (NFHS-4) respectively were used in the analysis. We used multinomial as well as binary logistic regression analyses to examine the determinants
of consanguineous marriage types, and, paternal and maternal first-cousin marriages respectively. In both the analyses a systematic model building procedure were adopted. Altogether four models were estimated. In the final model (model 4) of both the analyses, all the background characteristics of the respondents (region of residence, religious affiliation, socio-demographic, household wealth) and years of survey were included. Results show that although the overall prevalence of consanguineous marriage in India declined significantly (16%); but it was not uniform across the background characteristics of the respondents. North Indian region (154%) shows a significant increase in consanguineous marriage, whereas eastern (31%), central (2.3%), north-eastern (40%) and southern (8%) regions of India show a significant decline in consanguineous marriage. Hindus (16%) and Muslims (29%) both show significant decline in consanguineous marriage. Muslims of eastern (48%), central (29%), western (31%), and southern (27%) regions and the Hindus of western region (37%) show significant decline in consanguineous marriage. Relative risk ratios (RRRs) estimated by using multinomial logistic regression models suggest those living in southern region shows 9.55 (p<0.001), 5.96 (p<0.001), and 38.16 (p<0.001) times more likelihood in the prevalence of first-cousin, second-cousin and uncle-niece marriages respectively compared to the northern region after controlling all other confounding variables. Muslims also show 3.76 (p<0.001) and 2.91 (p<0.001) times more likelihood in first-cousin and second-cousin marriages respectively compared to Hindus. Adjusted odds ratios (AORs) estimated by using binary logistic regression models suggest those living in southern and north-eastern region were 1.25 (p<0.001) and 1.36 (p<0.05) times more likely to marry maternal first cousin respectively compared to the northern region. The AOR estimates also show that Muslims were 1.11 (p<0.01) times more likely to marry maternal first cousin compared to Hindus. We conclude from this study that despite significant development in the socio-economic condition of India during the post-globalisation era (beginning from 1992-1993), region of residence and religious affiliation continued to play significant role till the recent past in determining consanguineous marriage, as hypothesized in the study.
Kalam, Mir Azad; Sharma, Santosh Kumar; Ghosh, Saswata; and Roy, Subho, "Change in the Prevalence and Determinants of Consanguineous Marriages in India between National Family and Health Surveys (NFHS) 1 (1992–1993) and 4 (2015–2016)" (2020). Human Biology Open Access Pre-Prints. 178.