Though marriage might have different contexts in cultures and religions across the globe, by and large it means a lifetime of commitment between two people. The average age at which people get married can reveal some of these cultural differences, as well as provide key insights into the changing demographics of a nation.
In countries where women have better access to education, employment, and stability, women tend to marry later in life — likely because they often have more control over the decision to get married. In developing countries such as Chad, Mozambique, and Bangladesh, on the other hand, about a third of girls will be married before they turn 18, according to the United Nations.
Countries in which women get married later in their lives tend to have higher levels of equality between men and women. Of the 25 countries where people wait the longest to get married, 12 also rank among the top 25 in terms of gender parity, according the World Economic Forum, or WEF.
The United States has an average marriage age of 23.9 years, one of the lowest in the world, and does not appear on this list.
24/7 Wall St. reviewed data compiled by the WEF for its annual Global Gender Gap Report, including the average age at marriage, to determine the countries where people wait the longest to get married.
In all countries mentioned in the WEF data, men get married at an older age than women. In most countries, the average man is three years older on his wedding day than the average woman is on hers.
Having a higher average age at marriage is not always a good sign for a country. Because of the later marriage age, some nations, particularly in Asia, are experiencing declining fertility rates. There is concern that the declining fertility rate could mean that older generations would not have enough people to care for them in their old age.
To determine the countries where people wait the longest to get married, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data from the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report for 2018. The average age at marriage in each country data comes from the United Nations’ Statistics and Indicators on Women and Men in Families report and contains the most recent available data. The data on the rate of men and women married by 25 comes from the UN World Marriage Data report. GDP per capita figures come from the International Monetary Fund and are for the most recent available year.