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At the death of the father, each son ideally establishes his own household to begin the cycle again.
Because of the centrality of family life, it is assumed that all persons will marry when they reach an appropriate age.
Loyalty to family, clan, and tribe outweighed loyalty to a profession or class and inhibited the emergence of new leaders and a professional elite.
Marriage is more a family than a personal affair and a civil contract rather than a religious act.
Individuals subordinated their personal interests to those of the family and considered themselves to be members of a group whose importance outweighed their own.
Because the sexes generally were unable to mix socially, young men and women enjoyed few acquaintances among the opposite sex.
Parents arranged marriages for their children, finding a mate either through their own social contacts or through a professional matchmaker.
Unions between the children of brothers were customarily preferred, or at least matches between close relatives or within the same tribe.
Despite the changes in urban and rural society brought about by the 1969 revolution, the revolutionary government has repeatedly stated that the family is the core of society.
The 1973 census, the last for which complete data were available in mid-1987, showed that the typical household consisted of five to six individuals and that about 12 percent of the households were made up of eight or more members.