Parent-Child Relationships and the Transition to Marriage in Mexico

Julieta Perez Amador, Luxembourg Income Study

Change in marriage patterns is a complex process involving structural changes such as socioeconomic transformations and cultural factors such as family dynamics. Because most Mexicans live in the parental home until they marry, I examine how parent-child relationships and other family dynamics are related with the transition to marriage. I find that poor-quality mother-child relationships, harsh family environments, and strong parental control over young adults, particularly over daughters, precipitate union formation. Specifically, daughters who enjoy more independence and freedom from their parents have a lower relative risk of marriage. Moreover, the relative risk of marriage decreases as educational attainment increases, suggesting that highly-educated women who live under strict parental control and authority may be more likely to improve their relative level of autonomy by forming egalitarian marriages than by negotiating or trying to forge a more democratic relationship with their parents, thus contributing to the stability of marriage in Mexico.

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Presented in Session 62: Demography of Latin America