I just turned 29 and that got me thinking about how I’m probably now older than the average age of marriage in the US for women (I turned out to be right- it’s 27). So I went googling around and came across this Wikipedia page listing the average age of marriage around the world in many countries. I was pretty surprised at how high the age is for countries like Sweden, Iceland, and Denmark. Men are nearly 36 for their first marriage in Sweden! That’s crazy to me. For women, it’s 33, which is beyond the age of easily being able to have children (many doctors consider pregnant women beyond 35 to have geriatric pregnancies or be in “advanced maternal age”). I have visions in my head of tons of young, single Swedes living up their 20s partying and doing whatever and not settling down. On the flip side, none of the countries had a very low average. Iran, India and Indonesia were all about 22. China’s average age has been going up and they have to deal with a country full of a disproportionate amount of young men. I found this article about “leftover women”, so despite what you’d think, not all women are easily snatched up. As countries industrialize and women obtain college degrees and enter the workforce, the age has gone up. Are there consequences to this? According to this New York Times article, in general, women who delay marriage have higher incomes, but it’s the opposite for men. Marrying later leads to stresses from fertility issues, unhealthy babies, and not getting the family that you wanted. Plus by the time you become parents, your parents are really getting up there in years and not as available to help.
I came across this interesting blog post that examines the myth about whether people really did get married very young in the old days.
Check out this map showing the average ages per country. There are lots of other nifty maps to check out as well, like where in the world you can find the most plastic surgeons (spoiler alert: it’s the United States, duh). Not so sure of the accuracy of these maps because when I clicked on World Religions, the map showed Christianity as the majority religion in North Korea, which I kind of doubt.