Family Formation in Indonesia after the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami

Michael Burrows, Duke University
Peter Katz, University of California, Los Angeles
Bondan Sikoki, SurveyMETER
Duncan Thomas, Duke University

This study uses data from before and after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami to examine how marriage patterns are affected by a high mortality natural disaster. We draw on data from the longitudinal Study of Tsunami Aftermath and Recovery, which includes population-representative information on over 40,000 individuals in 526 Indonesian communities that were differentially exposed to the disaster. We begin by describing important trends since the time of the tsunami. Tsunami mortality generated unusually high levels of male widowhood, and data show a high male propensity for subsequent remarriage. Average partner characteristics change significantly for new unions after the tsunami. We then use logistic regression to estimate the probability of entering into marriage according to damage proximity and widowhood status. Preliminary results provide a strong foundation for leveraging this research to more fully exploit STAR data and address important hypothesis in the demographic literature about factors that affect marriage formation.

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Presented in Session 21: Union Formation: Developing Countries