Sociology Index


Endogamy is the practice of seeking a mate or marriage partner from within a group defined by social status, ethnic identity, family relationship or area of residence or some other distinct social characteristic. People tend to marry within their own status or class, religion or ethnic group.

Some societies have rules of endogamy that specify marriage to a particular kinship-related partner. A low rate of endogamy suggests that a group is being assimilated into the surrounding society. 

The opposite of endogamy is Exogamy. Both practices are defined by values and norms that vary cross-culture situations.

Endogamic: of or pertaining to endogamy. Endogamous: practicing endogamy; of or pertaining to endogamy.

Exogamy is when one marries someone outside one's own group.

Endogamy and inbreeding since the 17th century in past malarial communities in the Province of Cosenza (Calabria, Southern Italy) - Danubio M. E.; Piro A.; Tagarelli A. - Annals of Human Biology, Volume 26, Number 5, 1 September 1999, pp. 473-488(16)

Abstract: Many authors stressed the importance of considering mating patterns, migration and consanguinity when analysing micro-geographic differences in the distribution of the frequency of genetic traits. The research was carried out on 15311 records of marriages from Parish Books of four villages located in the past malarial area, and four situated in the non-malarial region. Endogamy rates were high in every village and decreased only in the present century as a consequence of the breakdown of isolation.

Endogamy, consanguinity and community disease profiles.
Community Genetics. 2005;8(1): Bittles AH., Centre for Human Genetics, Edith Cowan University
Considerable attention is paid to the role of consanguineous marriage as a causative factor in the prevalence of genetic disorders. At the same time, the potential influence of community endogamy on overall levels of homozygosity and disease profiles remains largely under-investigated. With the ongoing global epidemiological transition from infectious to non-communicable disease, the impact of genetic disorders will become increasingly important and a thorough understanding of the determinants of human population-genetic structure will be all the more necessary.

Effect of consanguinity and endogamy on mortality and fertility in a Spanish population, Genetica Iberica. 1985;37(3-4) Cereijo AI, Prieto L, Martinez-frias ML., 
The effects of inbreeding and endogamy on prenatal mortality and fertility in a Spanish population were analyzed using the data for control newborns registered in the Spanish Collaborative Study of Congenital Malformations (ECEMC). The ECEMC collects information on all newborns with major or minor malformations diagnosed in the first 72 hours of life in participating maternity hospitals. The controls consist of the first subsequent healthy infant of the same sex born in the same hospital. 5794 ECEMC controls born between April 1976-June 1982 were the subjects of the inbreeding and endogamy study. Fertility was studied by comparing the number of pregnancies in each family. The inbred had an average of 2.68, significantly higher than the 2.22 of the exogamous, but the difference disappeared when educational status was controlled. Educational level should be controlled in studies of the effects of endogamy and consanguinity, especially with regard to a variable like fertility that is so largely determined by the socioeconomic environment of the couple.

Surname Endogamy among the Brahmin of India - Suhasini Bhatnagar, Suraksha Agrawal 
Current Sociology, Vol. 50, No. 6, 853-861 (2002) � 2002 International Sociological Association
Endogamy has been a strong influence on Hindu society over the centuries and most of the 75,000 subcastes or subgroups of India's complex social stratification system practise endogamy, while the further divisions within these subcastes, called gotras, are required to marry exogamously. The present study focuses on three socioculturally isolated, highly endogamous groups, to study the effect of endogamy on genetic microdifferentiation. The groups are all subdivisions or classes of the Brahmin or priest caste, namely Bhargavas and Chaturvedis and Kanyakubja and Sanadhaya Brahmin, and all groups practise patrilineal surname endogamy. Two-generation pedigrees were drawn up and microdifferentiation was estimated using parameters like mean concordance, i.e. within-gotra marriages in Bhargavas and Chaturvedis, FIT (the inbreeding coefficient or inbreeding-like effect due to endogamy), FST (within-group a priori kinship) and RST (reduced variance of the mean value of within-group a priori kinship). The FST is almost the same in all the populations over two generations; however, it is slightly lower among Bhargavas and highest in Brahmin indicating that although these populations follow endogamy at surname level they are exogamous at gotra/kuldevi level. The same is indicated by FIS, which shows that in spite of strict endogamy there is no inbreeding-like effect in these populations.