Arubans - Marriage and Family

Marriage. Monogamy and legal marriage are the norm, but extramarital and premarital relations are common. Concubinage doubled between 1981 and 1991. Teenage pregnancy is a growing concern. Intraethnic marriages are favored, but the census of 1991 showed that in 1990 and 1991, 45.2 percent of Aruban-born men married foreign spouses and 24.8 percent of Aruban women married non-Arubans. One cause of this is the great number of marriages of convenience ("fake marriages"). By marrying Arubans, foreigners can obtain the much-desired Dutch nationality.

Domestic Unit. The conjugal nuclear family is the most favored domestic unit. Nevertheless, one-person households, extended-family or composite households, and consensual nuclear-family households are socially accepted. The traditional household can be characterized as matricentric. The everyday authority lies with the mother, the ultimate authority with the father. In family affairs, the oldest child (yui mayó), who has special influence in situations of decision making and conflict.

Inheritance. Inheritance, like descent, is bilateral; normally, all children receive a share.

Socialization. Socialization generally takes place within the family and social organizations as well as at school. Within the nuclear family, it is predominantly the mother who takes care of the children. A growing number of children attend day-care centers before going to school. The educational system is based on the Dutch model. At the age of 4, children attend kindergarten, and after age 6 primary school. They enroll in secondary or lower vocational school after age 12. Higher education is provided by a pedagogical institute, and the study of law or economics may be pursued at the University of Aruba. A hotel school is designed after the U.S. system. Many students leave for the Netherlands or the United States to attend institutions of higher education. Adult education is very popular and is provided by Enseñanza pa Empleo (Education for Employment), a development project cofinanced by the Aruban and the Dutch governments and a great number of for-profit institutes.

Social organizations are important loci of socialization and social participation for all age groups and classes. The most important organizations are sports and service clubs, scouting associations, community centers, and religious and professional organizations. Ethnic clubs were extremely important between approximately 1945 and 1970 but have lost their impact on later generations.

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