Marriage Patterns in Historical Perspective: What Can We Learn from Three Centuries of Marriages in Quebec?

Marianne Caron, Université de Montréal
Lisa Dillon, Université de Montréal
Alain Gagnon, Université de Montréal

The historical demographic literature on marriage has devoted a great deal of attention to understanding how and why age at marriage and the rate of celibacy were historically higher in North Western European countries. More recently, comparative work in a Eurasian perspective confirmed earlier and more universal marriages in Asia. On the other side, North America also had earlier ages at first marriages and lower rates of permanent celibacy than North Western Europe, but later marriage than Asia. This study will provide insights on marriage patterns in a region somewhere in the middle of North Western European and Asian marriage. We will explore how families and the context may have influenced jointly or separately the timing and probability of marriage in Quebec using three centuries of marriages and a large territory covering from sparsely populated and isolated parishes to densely populated cities like Québec and Montréal.

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Presented in Session 172: Marriage in Historical Perspective