October 31, 2006

WaPo: 58% of Iraqi marriages are between relatives

Here's a very good article I'd never seen before by Howard Schnieder from 2000 in the Washington Post: "Saudi Intermarriages Have Genetic Costs." Now that infectious diseases have declined radically in Saudi Arabia, the burden of genetic diseases is more visible, and Saudi leaders are worrying about what to do about it. However, cousin marriage is tied into the roots of the society, so it's a difficult problem.

(I am mildly sympathetic to the extreme reactionary cautiousness of the Saudi government. Since the oil price hike of 1973, their country is a like some high school dropout that hit it hugely rich by fluke, as in a lottery. The odds are pretty high that he'll end up dead in the john at age 42, like Elvis (and Elvis was a nice guy). The Saudis have been ridiculously rich for 33 years and yet they have avoided much in the way of heroin addictions, alcoholism, HIV, and other obvious traps for lottery winners. They haven't accomplished anything, of course, but not collapsing in a heap is some kind of accomplishment, I guess.)

Here's a table from the article on how common are "marriages between relatives" (no definition given, I'm guessing it means first or second cousins -- uncle-niece marriages are uncommon outside of Southern India).

JORDAN: 50.2%
IRAQ: 57.9%
KUWAIT: 54.3%
BAHRAIN: 39.4%
U.A.E.: 61.6%
EGYPT: 28.9%
Northern Province: 52.1%
North Western Province: 67.7%
South Western Province: 54.2%
Central Province: 60.8%
Eastern Province: 59.1%

Rub Al-Khali

The Saudi government study involved a survey of 3,212 families in five Saudi provinces in 1995.

SOURCE: Saudi Arabian government agencies

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

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