Something Old, Something New – The Hungarian Marriage Patterns in Historical Perspective

Laszlo J. Kulcsar, Cornell University

Among the various demographic events, marriage is probably the most sensitive to changes in social norms or economic structure. In most cases the patterns of nuptiality closely follow the development path of a society. The institute of marriage is also a core component of family formation, thus it also influences fertility decisions based on the social role of marriage in the given cultural context. This paper examines the changing trends of nuptiality in Hungary from the late 19th to the early 21st century. With the help of Hungarian historical statistical data we can see these changes from the perspective of broader socioeconomic development over time, during which Hungary has turned from a predominantly agrarian society into a modern urban one. This paper provides a historical demographic overview of a country where the state intervention to the social norms and collective behavior was itself a norm for a long time.

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Presented in Session 168: Historical Transitions and Demographic Responses