Average Age of Marriage

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.

Shaniqua

Shaniqua
Contrary to popular belief, Shaniqua is not a common name for black women. Often used as a stereotype to represent unique names used in the African-American community, it barely reached over 1000 names a year twice in the early 1990s before nearly disappearing. For perspective, if you were named Shaniqua, there is a good chance you were the only one in your entire school or town with that name. Shaniqua (and its spelling varieties) don’t even make the cut in the names database beyond 2010. According to comments on behindthename.com, the name rose to popularity from the 1990 hip hop song “Shaniqua” by Oran “Juice” Jones. Sadly, the name doesn’t have a good reputation these days, prompting one commenter on babynamewizard.com to say, “My name is Shenequia and when I tell people my name , they say ‘well you don’t act like a Shenequia'”. So what exactly is someone named Shaniqua supposed to act like anyway?

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Public School Data By State

Check out the data here

I created a a Google Sheet to show public school racial and economic statistics on a state level. You can sort and play around with the data as you’d like.

Looking at the results was a good reminder of how the makeup of each state can be really different. I also had no idea how high the African-American percentage was in Washington D.C. and how low it was in some states, like Idaho, Montana, and even Oregon.

There is a column showing the percentage of students receiving or qualifying (not sure which it is, actually) for free or reduced lunch. There is a federal program that specifies income levels a family must have in order to qualify. There are two states that stand out in this list as being really low- California and Maine. It is possible for schools, especially charter schools I’d imagine, to forgo the federal lunch program and do their own thing, so that can account for some of this. I also wonder if the higher than average cost of living in California results in higher salaries and therefore less people qualify, assuming the program doesn’t higher the income levels for California. But as far as Maine goes, I was not aware of them being a wealthy state, so I’m not sure why only 4.8% are on the lunch program. Maybe something to do with their smaller than average school size? Maine has many schools with only a handful of students, so they probably aren’t going to have a full-fledged cafeteria, but I’m not sure if that matters. Just speculating.

Teen Mom Influence

bentley_maci
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maci_bentley
I’ll admit that I watched 16 and Pregnant (premiered in 2009), Teen Mom, and Teen Mom 2 when they came out. The two names from the show that have really been affected are Maci and Bentley (seen at left). Bentley is Maci’s son and they were from the very first episode of 16 and Pregnant and then Maci continued her story through Teen Mom. Maci was popular and successful in high school before becoming a teen mom and compared to the others, she seemed to be on a good track and come from a good family. She was shown juggling college and dealing with her baby’s daddy, Ryan, in the first season. Maci is a fan favorite and her son Bentley is super adorable, so it’s no surprise the name Bentley shot through the roof almost more than any other name in the 2000s. Many other reality show names also saw huge increases- The Hills’ Audrina went from 8 names in 2005 to 931 in 2008 and Laguna Beach’s Talan saw a 10,000% spike from 2003 to 2006 (it basically went from nonexistence to about 1000 babies).

The table after the break includes teen moms Maci, Jenelle, and Farrah; Maci’s son Bentley, Jenelle’s son Jace, and Chelsea’s daughter Aubree. All of these names showed an increase during the years their show was on. Interestingly, only the spelling Maci saw an increase. Macy and Macey actually went down during recent years. Some of the names, such as Bentley and most of the moms’ names, have started a downward trend after their brief popularity spike, so perhaps they’ll just be a fad. I would also bet that some people don’t want their son to be “the kid who was named after that boy on Teen Mom.”

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