There was a decline in consanguineous marriage rates in Lebanon between 1950 and 1970, from an overall rate of ca. 30% down to 20%.[1]

There has been an increase in consanguineous marriage rates since 1983-84 when the overall rate was 25%[2] to the 2000s (2008?) when the overall rate was 35.5%[3].

Reportedly, there has also been an increase in the wearing of headscarves in this period, i.e. since the 1980s:

The wearing of headscarves has risen since the 1980s, even though Lebanon is generally more liberal than other Mideast countries and also has larger Christian and secular communities. Women who support Hezbollah, the Shiite militant group, wear headscarves generally and some wear the Iranian-style chador, which covers the hair and body but not the face or hands.[4]


[1] Parental consanguinity and congenital heart malformations in a developing country

[2] Consanguineous Marriage and Reproduction in Beirut, Lebanon

[3] Consanguinity in Lebanon: prevalence, distribution and determinants

[4] A Look At The Wearing Of Veils Across The Muslim World, International Herald Tribune, Oct 31, 2006.


Iran is a nation composed of multiple ethnic groups and religions. Islam is by far the most important religion — something in the order of 98% of the population claim to be Muslims — and Shia Islam is the most important branch. The peoples of Iran include Persians, Azeris, Kurds, Lurs, Arabs, Baluchi, Turkmens, Armenians, Assyrians, Jews, and the Qashqai amongst others. Many of these groups now live in urban centers, but many are still rural-based agriculturalists while some remain nomadic herders.

The overall consanguinity rates reported for Iran are as follows: in 1977, 40%[1]; in 2001, 38.6%[2]; and in 2003, 58.2%[3]:

The overall consanguinity rates for Tehran were 25.1% in 1966[4] and 31.59% in 1991[5]; in rural areas the rates were 32.8% in 1966[4] and 46.86% in 1991[5]:

Given and Hirschman noted that in 1977, consanguineous marriage was higher among the younger cohort of women than amongst older women.[6] And in 2005-06, Akrami, et. al., found that the number of consanguineous marriages had increased across three generations of Tehranis[7] (my own chart based on their data):

It appears, therefore, that the overall consanguinity rates in Iran have been increasing since at least the 1940s or since the generation(s) that were married before 1948 as defined by Akrami, et. al.

[1] Given. B, P., and Hirschman, C. (1994) Modernization and consanguineous marriage in Iran. Journal of Marriage and Family, 56, 820-834.

[2] Saadat, M., Ansari-Lari, M. and Farhud, D.D. (2004) Consanguineous marriage in Iran. Annals of Human Biology 31, 263-269.

[3] Saadat, M and Mohabbatkar, H. (2003) Inbreeding and its Relevance to Early and Pre-reproductive Mortality Rates in Iran, an Ecological Study. Iranian J Publ Health, Vol. 32, No. 2, pp.9-11.

[4] Behanm, D., & Amani, M. (1974). La Population de L’Iran. Paris: CICRED.

[5] Farhud, D.D., Mahmoudi, M., Kamali, M.S., Marzban, M., Andonian, L., and Saffart, R. (1991) Consanguinity in Iran. Iranian Journal of Public Health 20, 1-13.

[6] Aghajanian, A. (2001) Family and Family Change in Iran. (“Paper to be published as a chapter in Diversity in Families: A Global Perspective edited by Charles B. Hennon and Timothy H. Brubaker, Belmont, Ca: Wadsworth Publishing Company.”)

[7] Akrami, S.M.; Montazeri, V.; Shomali, S.R.; Heshmat, R.; and Larijani, B. (2009) Is There a Significant Trend in Prevalence of Consanguineous Marriage in Tehran? A Review of Three Generations. J Genet Counsel 18:82–86.

Data taken from the Egypt Demographic and Health Surveys 2000, 2005 and 2008:



Egypt – consanguinity rates, 2000
Egypt – consanguinity rates, 2005
Egypt – consanguinity rates, 2008

From the Egypt Demographic and Health Survey 2005:

Total consanguineous marriages = 32.2%
Total first cousin marriages = 17.5%; inbreeding coefficient = 0.0109
Total second cousin marriages = 7.3%; inbreeding coefficient = 0.0011
Total “other blood relative” marriages = 7.4%

Total FBD marriages = 11%; inbreeding coefficient = 0.0069

Urban consanguineous marriages = 24%
Rural consanguineous marriages = 37.9%

Urban 1C = 13%; inbreeding coefficient = 0.0081
Urban 2C = 6%; inbreeding coefficient = 0.0009
Rural 1C = 20.6%; inbreeding coefficient = 0.0129
Rural 2C = 8.3%; inbreeding coefficient = 0.0013

Urban Governorates = 22.5%
Lower Egypt urban = 19.4%
Lower Egypt rural = 29%
Upper Egypt urban = 29.4%
Upper Egypt rural = 48.5%
Frontier Governorates = 41.4%

Urban Governorates = Cairo, Alexandria, Port Said, and Suez (no rural population)
Lower Egypt = 9 Lower Egypt governorates totally (Nile Delta)
Upper Egypt = 8 Upper Egypt governorates totally (Nile Valley)
Frontier Governorates = 5 governorates on eastern/western boundaries

Collection period: 2005
Study population: A nationally representative sample of ever-married women aged 15-49.
Sample size: 19,474
Location: Nation-wide.

From the abstract of An epidemiological study on consanguineous marriage among urban population in Alexandria:

“The study was carried out using a cross-sectional approach, involving interviews with 500 households randomly selected from three urban areas in Alexandria (Bab Sharki, El Gomrok and Karmouz). A questionnaire interview was conducted with married females in these households to determine prevalence of consanguineous marriages and to study knowledge of married females about causes and effects of consanguineous marriages. Prevalence of consanguineous marriages among 500 married females was 22.8% with the highest frequency among marriage between first cousins (15.8%). Average inbreeding coefficient up to the marriage between second cousins equals to 0.01172. The linear trend of consanguineous marriages throughout the last 50 years was statistically significant. Age at marriage was younger in consanguineous marriages than non consanguineous marriages. Longstanding familiarity and sharing same traditions and customs with male relatives were the main causes of consanguineous marriages. The majority of the studied females (42.2%) reported that consanguineous marriage is harmful while 29.6% reported that it has no effect on offsprings.”

Total consanguinity rate = 22.8%; inbreeding coefficient = 0.0117

1C consanguinity rate = 15.8%

Collection period: unknown; early 1990s(?)
Study population: Household survey
Sample size: 500
Location: Three urban areas in Alexandria: Bab Sharki, El Gomrok and Karmouz. Alexandria is an Urban Governorate.

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1961-64 Total Alexandria consanguinity rate = 32.8% (>1C,1C,<1C)
Early 1990s(?) total Alexandria consanguinity rate = 22.8%
2000 Urban Governorates consanguinity rate = 29.1%
2008 Urban Governorates consanguinity rate = 23.2%

Early 1990s(?) Alexandria 1C consanguinity rate = 15.8%
2000 Total Urban Governorates 1C consanguinity rate = 16.5%
2008 Total Urban Governorates 1C consanguinity rate = 12.5%

From the abstract of Endogamy in Egyptian Nubia:

“In a sample of 282 marriages in New Nubia in Egypt, 39% were between first cousins and 21% between less closely related kin. The average number of liveborn offspring in first-cousin marriages was higher than in marriages between more distant relations and unrelated spouses, but the number of deaths among children of first-cousin couples was also higher.”

Total Nubian consanguinity rate = 60% (60.5%*)

1C consanguinity rate = 39%
<1C consanguinity rate = 21%

Collection period: 1965-67
Study population: Household survey
Sample size: 282
Location: New Nubia

*According to

~ ~ ~ ~ ~


1965-67 New Nubian 1C consanguinity rate = 39%
1967-68 1C Fadetchi consanguinity rate = 45.5%
1967-68 1C Kenuzi consanguinity rate = 47.2%
1967-68 1C Arab consanguinity rate = 41.5%

From A genetic epidemiological study of malformations at birth in Egypt:

“Parental consanguinity was found in 31.79% of all cases….”

Total consanguinity rate = 31.79%

Collection period: 1991-93
Study population: Obstetric inpatients
Sample size: 80
Location: Boulak El-Dakrour Hospital in Giza; serves both urban and rural patients. Giza Governorate is one of the Delta/Lower Egypt Governorates.

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1991-93 Giza = 31.79%
2000 Lower Egypt = 33.3%
2008 Lower Egypt = 23.4%
2009/10(?) Dakahlia = 19.8%