Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Rethinking Marriage After 40 :: Newsweek

Amongst Emirati women there is a spinster problem. A large proportion are not married by age 25. Will they ever marry?

Twenty years ago Newsweek made an ominous claim: in the U.S. "a 40-year-old single woman was "more likely to be 'killed by a terrorist' than to ever marry."

Today Newsweek reports:
Twenty years later, the situation looks far brighter. Those odds-she'll-marry statistics turned out to be too pessimistic: today it appears that about 90 percent of baby-boomer men and women either have married or will marry, a ratio that's well in line with historical averages. And the days when half of all women would marry by 20, as they did in 1960, only look more anachronistic. At least 14 percent of women born between 1955 and 1964 married after the age of 30.
. . .
The research that led to the highly touted marriage predictions began at Harvard and Yale in the mid-1980s. Three researchers—Neil Bennett, David Bloom and Patricia Craig—began exploring why so many women weren't marrying in their 20s, as most Americans traditionally had. Would these women still marry someday, or not at all? To find an answer, they used "life table" techniques, applying data from past age cohorts to predict future behavior—the same method typically used to predict mortality rates. "It's the staple [tool] of demography," says Johns Hopkins sociologist Andrew Cherlin. "They were looking at 40-year-olds and making predictions for 20-year-olds."
. . .
Some demographers immediately doubted the dire odds. Within months Census researchers did their own study and concluded that a 40-year-old single woman really had a 17 to 23 percent probability of eventually marrying, not 2.6 percent. In retrospect, the demographers faced a huge challenge in getting these predictions right. That's because marital behavior was undergoing a profound shift. Before 1980, a woman who hadn't married by 30 probably never would. But times were changing. "[Women] weren't remaining unmarried because marriage was less appealing, but because it was becoming more appealing to wait," says Steven Martin, a University of Maryland sociologist.
. . .
Today a new generation of sociologists continues to tinker with the delayed-marriage puzzle. The latest research—a 2001 study by Princeton sociologists Joshua Goldstein and Catherine Kenney, and a 2004 paper by Maryland's Martin—concludes that roughly 90 percent of baby boomers will eventually marry. In a shift, however, the newer studies conclude that nowadays, a college degree makes a woman more likely to marry, not less. The Princeton paper suggests that for female college graduates born between 1960 and 1964, 97.4 percent will eventually marry.

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Blogger uae alias said...

True, everything in this article is 100% true! lolz im 23 and my family are blaming me for refusing to get married as im really old and its matter of no time until i will reach the taboo age... guess what i will reach it told them...
this is not the case only in UAE its the case in most ARAB countries especially gulf area.

5:10 PM  

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