DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): While it is widely acknowledged that dramatic political and economic upheavals can affect demographic choices and outcomes, the complexities of these effects are poorly understood. Ethnic and religious tensions that often accompany societal upheavals further complicate these effects. The proposed project will explore these complexities by analyzing how members of different ethnic groups in Kazakhstan have adapted their marital and reproductive behavior to the radical and multidimensional societal transformations produced by the reforms in the Soviet Union and its subsequent collapse, Kazakhstan's independence, and its transition from a centrally-planned to a market economy. Along with its numerous positive consequences, the post-Soviet transition in Kazakhstan has also increased socioeconomic inequalities and exacerbated insecurities of the majority of the country's population. In addition to socioeconomic challenges, independent Kazakhstan has experienced rising ethnic tensions, primarily between indigenous Kazakhs and descendents of European-origin settlers, and in recent years, a growing threat of Islamic fundamentalism. Although these economic and ethnoreligious challenges and their implications for migratory patterns and trends are often addressed in the literature, very little is known about how these challenges may have affected Kazakhstan's residents' preferences and choices regarding marriage and childbearing. Yet marriage and reproduction are important demographic mechanisms through which individuals adjust to changes in their environments. Moreover, population segments with different background characteristics and stakes in the ongoing societal transformations may engage these adjustment mechanisms differently. The outcomes of these adjustments are critical to society's viability and stability, especially in the case of such an ethnically and religiously divided country as Kazakhstan. The project will utilize data from the 1995 and 1999 Kazakhstan Demographic and Health Surveys (KDHS), combined with data from the recent decennial censuses and vital registration and health statistics to examine marital and reproductive dynamics, focusing in particular on ethnic differences in timing of first marriage, timing of marital births, and recourse to induced abortion. The proposed project will constitute a necessary initial step toward a more comprehensive study of sociodemographic adjustments to dramatic societal changes and will therefore lead to a subsequent NIH application.