Youth and Marriage

Youth and marriage
Not many people have the same views of marriage, especially between teenagers and adults. They are from two different generations in which some things that never used to be socially acceptable are now.

Marriage patterns are changing throughout much of the developing world. Young men and women are waiting until they are older to marry, they are marrying someone closer to their own age, and they have more say about whom they marry. However long they wait, almost everyone marries or enters into a marriage-like relationship. For many, the transition into marriage is a key component of the transition to adulthood.

Young People Are Marrying Later. Today, most young people are marrying later compared with earlier generations. Among women, 27 percent of 15- to 19-year-old women in the developing world were married in 1970-1989, compared with 21 percent in 1990-2000. The reduction in the share of married 15- to 19-year-olds is particularly striking in Africa. In Western/Middle Africa, the percentage dropped from 53 percent to 38 percent. In some regions, most notably the Middle East, a large share of men now postpone marriage until their 30s.
Factors Associated With Later Marriage: The decline in early marriage is quite widespread, lending support to the notion that global changes are having widespread effects on personal behavior. Not only is the reduction in early marriage occurring in many settings, it is also occurring, in some regions, over a relatively wide age span. This suggests that policy shifts, such as increases in the legal age at marriage; social shifts, such as the expansion of education; or ideological shifts, such as a change in norms regarding very early marriage, all contribute to the changes observed. The legal age of marriage for both men and women has risen in many countries over the last decade. Between 1990 and 2000, the legal age of marriage for women increased in at least 23 of 55 countries where data were available. For...