Post-soviet demographic paradoxes: Ethnic differences in marriage and fertility in Kazakhstan

Victor Agadjanian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


The dramatic and generalized socioeconomic and political crisis that followed the collapse of the socialist system has produced unique demographic responses in the former Soviet Union. This study addresses the differences in nuptiality and early fertility before and after the onset of the crisis and between the indigenous and European-origin population in Kazakhstan. Drawing on data from the 1995 Kazakhstan Demographic and Health Survey, this study finds that, contrary to the logical expectation, European-origin women are significantly more likely to marry earlier than indigenous women, and this difference has become even more pronounced during the crisis. However, the crisis is also associated with a longer interval between first marriage and first birth among European-origin women. The analysis shows that European-origin women prolong this interval through increasing use of contraception and abortion. The study attempts to link these findings to the sociopolitical and ethnic climate in Kazakhstan and to changing meanings of and attitudes toward marriage and childbearing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)425-446
Number of pages22
JournalSociological Forum
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1999


  • Central asia
  • Ethnicity
  • Fertility
  • Former soviet union
  • Kazakhstan
  • Marriage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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