Marriage is a legally recognized union between two partners in a relationship. The average age to first get married varies from one country to another and is affected by several factors such as financial stability, career, academic pursuit, and family background. The average age for first marriage for men is slightly higher than that of women in most of the countries around the world mainly because of societal expectations and perceptions. However, the average age for the first marriage has been on the rise for the past two decades because of the postponement of family formation and increase in the cohabitation incidences as opposed to formal marriages.
Average Age At First Marriage: Trends in Europe
Marriages are earliest in Eastern European countries where the bride’s age ranges between 22 and 26 years while the groom’s age range between 24 and 27 years. In Moldova, most men marry at the age of 26 while women are married as low as 24 years. Women in most countries in Central Europe such as Czech Republic, Hungary, Germany, and Belgium marry after the age of 27 years while most of the men marry at the age of 30 years. Northern, Southern, and Western Europe have the highest average age at first marriage for both men and women. Women in these countries marry at the age of about 30 years while men marry a bit later. Sweden has the highest average age at first marriage (34.6) with women marrying at 33.3 years and men at 35 years followed by Nordic countries (Iceland, Denmark, and Norway) and Spain. In most of the Nordic countries, about 30% of the women and fewer than 20% of the women aged between 25 and 29 are married.
Factors Influencing Age At First Marriage
From the data, most of the wealthiest countries in Europe appear to have a higher average age at first marriage than their less developed counterparts. Most men and women postpone marriage in countries where they enjoy the higher social status, better education system, and employment. Most of the young men and women in Nordic countries and other developed countries postpone marriage in pursuit of education and career in their youthful age and only marry at the later years of their lives. Many women across Europe prefer to live independently before they can commit to a marriage further delaying the age at first marriage. Cohabiting for a long duration is also a contributing factor to delayed marriages where couples feel no need of committing to marriage as long as they are comfortable together. On the other hand religion and the society play an important role in the early marriage in some of the countries in Europe. In these countries, delayed marriage may be considered a curse while peer pressure is also a contributing factor to early marriages.
Effects Of The Average Age At First Marriage
Countries with higher mean age at first marriage are characterized by small families of an average of 2 children. On the other hand, people who marry early will likely have large families of an average of four children. Late marriages in Europe are likely to cause a generational gap in future if the trend continues as is the case currently.