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Marriage frequency is measured by marriage rates1 or nuptiality rates1, among which the crude marriage rate2 gives the ratio either of the total number of marriages to the total population in a given period, or of the number of newly-married persons (505-4) to the total population. The second ratio is, of course, exactly twice the first.
The terms male nuptiality1 and female nuptiality2 are used for the marriage frequency of the different sexes. Sex-specific marriage rates3 may be computed with the appropriate population at risk (134-2) of each sex as a base. It is usual to distinguish between a first marriage rate4 which relates the number of bachelors or spinsters (515-3 and 4) marrying to the total number of bachelors or spinsters respectively and a remarriage rate5 which relates the number of remarriages to the total number of widowed and divorced persons. Age-specific marriage rates6 or age-specific nuptiality rates6 are usually computed with the number of marriageable persons in the appropriate sex-age group as a base. The average age at marriage7 is frequently computed as an indicator of nuptiality.
Age-specific nuptiality rates (521-6) are often combined in a nuptiality table1 which is similar to a life table (431-1). The terminology relating to life tables is discussed in paras. 421-437. Gross nuptiality tables1 trace the history of a cohort (116-2) of men or women who reach the minimum age of marriage and are subjected to a set of ago-specific nuptiality rates on the assumption that there is no mortality. It is possible to calculate functions analogous to life table functions, as for instance the probabilities of marriage2 between birthday x and birthday x + 1, and the numbers remaining single3 at various ages. A net nuptiality table4 takes death rates as well as marriage rates into account. It is called a double decrement table5 or double attrition table5 because the population of single persons is subjected to attrition both by death and by marriage. The main functions of the net imptiality table are the single survivors6, persons who remain alive and unmarried at birthday x; the ever-married survivors7, persons alive at birthday x who have been married before that birthday; and the probability of single survival8 over a period, generally taken as a year. The expectation of unmarried life9 at a given age may be computed according to the gross nuptiality table and the net nuptiality table.
A divorce rate1 may be calculated in different ways. The crude divorce rate2 gives the ratio of the number of divorces to the average population during a given period. The ratio of divorces to the number of married couples is sometimes computed and may be called the crude divorce rate of the married population. Ideally, however, the rate should be the ratio between the divorces taking place in a given period and the number of marriages at risk (134-2) of divorce during that period. But there is no accepted terminology. If divorces are tabulated by age of the divorced person or by duration of marriage, age-specific divorce rates4 or duration-specific divorce rates5 can be computed. Another index of divorce frequency is obtained by computing the number of divorces per new marriage6.
Where the requisite basic statistics are available, marriage dissolution rates1 may be computed, showing for each sex the probability of the marriage being dissolved by death or divorce according to some combination of age at marriage2, age difference between spouses3, and duration of marriage4. These rates may be combined into marriage dissolution tables5 of different kinds.
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