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Marital Arrangements in Flux?: Union Formation in Selected Areas in the Philippines

In the context of increasing globalization, the state of affairs of marital unions in the Philippines is changing as in most Asian countries. Nuptiality is associated with a number of societal changes. For example, the economic environment of the country could explain the shift of marital timing, behaviors, and patterns. With overseas labor migration dramatically swelling during the last quarter of the 20th century, mostly in response to the shortage of employment opportunities and high incidence of poverty, married male and female overseas workers inevitably experienced varying strains on their marital relationships while the unmarried either faced prospects of delay in entry to marriage and/or widened their market for marriageable partners. As new communication technologies (e.g., mobile phones, internet/chat) evolve, the quality of communication and accord between marital couples and prospective partners may further redefine circumstances and notions surrounding marriage and family formation.

Research on marriage in the Philippines has been at a halt for decades and there is a need to update our knowledge about it in view of the changing environment mentioned above. One of the specific objectives of this study is to examine trends, patterns and differentials in marital status at the national, regional and provincial levels in the Philippines (whenever possible) and identify factors (e.g., poverty, education) influencing marital timing in support of the critical demand for indicators and data-driven policy leads at the local government level. In addition, this study also (1) examines the meanings of cohabitation, marriage (including early, late and non-marriage) and family formation and their implications for improving measurement, description and classification of marital arrangements; (2) assesses attitudes toward union formation and reasons behind preferences in timing and form of union; (3) explores perceptions and attitudes toward mobility and how they relate to the changing ideology of marriage and family formation; and (4) examines the effects of union formation on poverty.

The project commenced in November 2006 and ended in September 2008.


Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore

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