"Patterns of family formation in Sri Lanka resemble those of wealthier nations, with late marriage, delayed childbearing, and moderately low fertility. This article addresses two questions: How have these family formation patterns emerged in the absence of the normally expected levels of economic development? And what activities have occupied young women in the premarital, prechildbearing period? Answers are suggested by data from three sources: the 1981 census; a set of focus-group discussions on the rights, obligations, and aspirations of young women related to marriage, work, childbearing, and child care; and a sample survey of 1,535 women of ages 15-30 in Kalutara District. The article describes the interplay of socioeconomic and familial forces that have affected the status of young Sri Lankan women."
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