Marriage. Greeks exhibit higher marriage and lower Divorce rates than northern Europeans. Marriage is Monogamous, and it is forbidden between first cousins by the Hellenic Orthodox Church. Civil marriage outside the church has only recently been allowed. Divorce is permitted by both law and religion, and, since 1982, it can be granted through common consent. Marriages were commonly arranged by parents until the last few decades. Both families take an active interest in the groom's potential inheritance and the bride's dowry. Men and women generally marry in their mid-to late twenties. Postmarital residence is normally neolocal with respect to the actual house or apartment, although some couples reside temporarily with either the bride's or groom's parents. With respect to the village or neighborhood where a new rural couple resides, however, postmarital residence tends toward virilocality on the mainland and uxorilocality in the islands. The urban pattern is more complex, although much uxorilocality occurs in Athens.
Domestic Unit. The nuclear family household is statistically the most common, although stem families and other combinations of close kin also form households, as a result of economic need, recent migration, and variations during the life cycle. Elderly parents often reside with an adult child toward the end of their lives. House or apartment ownership is a major familial goal, and considerable resources are directed toward this. Greece ranks at the top of the European Community in per capita construction of dwellings.
Inheritance. By both custom and law, all children inherit equally from their parents. Daughters generally receive their share as dowry when they marry, and sons receive theirs when the parents retire or die. Dowries consist of land, houses, livestock, money, a trousseau, furnishings, and, more recently, apartments, household appliances, education, and a car. Significant dowry inflation has occurred during the last few decades, a circumstance favoring female inheritance over male. A 1983 law correspondingly limited the use of the dowry. Whether called a wedding gift or dowry, however, the practice of providing daughters with much of their inheritance at Marriage continues.
Socialization. Parents assume primary responsibility for raising children, assisted by many members of the kindred. Godparents also look after a child's material and spiritual welfare. Most children are minimally disciplined during early childhood; later they are actively trained into their proper roles through example, admonition, teasing, and comforting designed to teach such traits as wariness, cleverness, family loyalty, verbal proficiency, and honorable behavior. Nine years of formal education are both free and compulsory. A full 82 percent of Greek children complete twelve years of secondary education, and another 17 percent attend university.