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J Biosoc Sci. 1991 Oct;23(4):499-505.

Matriarchy, polyandry, and fertility amongst the Mosuos in China.

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  • 1Department of Sociology, Michigan State University, East Lansing.


A survey of 232 households of the Mosuo minority group in Yunnan Province, People's Republic of China, suggested that polyandrous matriarchy did not raise the birth rate per household, but lowered the community birth rate by restricting many women's chances of marrying. The results imply that tolerance by the national government of polyandry within certain minority groups (e.g. Mosuos and Tibetans) will not prevent but may aid the attainment of zero population growth by China in the twenty-first century.

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