Prevalence and Epidemiology
- Pp. 31-49 (19)Lutfi Jaber and Gabrielle J. Halpern
The frequency of consanguineous marriages varies from one population to another. Consanguineous marriage is not restricted to specific religions or to population isolates, but is a long-standing practice in many regions of the world and it continues to be preferred by many populations, with more than 1,000 million people living in countries where between 20% and 50+% of marriages are consanguineous. Levels above 5% occur in the northern part of Africa, the Middle East and parts of Asia, whereas in what is described as the "Western world" – i.e. the entire North American continent, the whole of Europe (with the exception of Spain), Australia and New Zealand – the frequency is less than 1%. In South America, parts of eastern and southeast Asia, Spain and various parts of Africa the rate is between 1 and 10%. In other parts of the world the frequencies are unknown.