The Persistence of Arranged Marriage in Urban India: New Evidence From the Delhi National Capital Region

Megan Reed , University of Pennsylvania

Utilizing new survey data from the Delhi National Capital Region and data from qualitative interviews with a sample of surveyed households, this paper explores the determinants of attitudes towards marriage arrangement. Most respondents reported an expectation that young people today will have more say in their partner selection than the previous generation. However, few people report an expectation for self-arrangement, also known as “love marriage.” Most prefer “joint-arranged” marriage, where young people participate in selecting their partner alongside their parents. The survey shows that individual-level, household-level, as well as spatial factors play an important role in predicting what type of marriage arrangement is expected in a family. Interview data highlights why young people are often the most outspoken advocates for joint-arranged marriage. Involvement of parents in partner selection is seen by young people to provide more protection against uncertainty in marriage.

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 Presented in Session 66. Union Formation