Demographic Journeys along the Silk Road Marriage, Childbearing, and Migration in Kyrgyzstan
Abstract: This thesis contributes to the limited demographic literature on Central Asia – the region through which led the great Silk Road – an ancient route of trade and cultural exchange between East and West. We focus on Kyrgyzstan and countries in its immediate neighborhood: Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. We analyze the dynamic interplay between marriage, childbearing, and migration, and examine fertility intentions and intentions to migrate as predictors of demographic outcomes. The thesis consists of four co-authored and one single-authored paper connected through a common theme of ethno-cultural differences in demographic behavior. In the first three studies, we explore the link between migration and family formation. We demonstrate that increased fertility of recent migrants is attributable to marriage-related resettlements. In paper four, we provide an analysis of intentions to move abroad. Our results suggest that ethnicity plays a significant role, independent of other factors, in determining migration plans and preferences, and detect ethnic-specific effects of marriage, childbearing, and social capital on the inclination to migrate. In paper five, we compare the fertility and fertility intentions of ethnic majority and minority groups in three neighboring countries of the region. We explain fertility differentials between ethnic groups in terms of the combined effects of their status in society, country-level differences in institutional settings, and historical and cultural factors.
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