Thursday, January 2, 2014

In Rajasthan State of India Mean Age at first marriage is increasing After reversing the tradition of marrying before the legal age

Proportion of women marrying before the legal age in EAG states of India has been obtained from the data collected during Annual Health Survey, 2010.  This has been obtained for the currently married women in these states as well as for the women who married during 2007-09.  This is one of the important indicators having bearing on birth rates, and fertility of women.  Any advancement in this women’ marriage age, does effect the population dynamics of the region/states and hence on its development. There are eight least developed EAG states and Rajasthan is one of them, on which the Government of India has the focus so that their development would actually lead in the advancement of India as a whole as the same is dependent significantly on these states, the movement of the said indicator has been discussed in case of most vulnerable state in this respect.
In rural Rajasthan, over 57% of currently married women age 20-24 years got married before the legal minimum age of 18 and little less 52 percent of men age 25-29 years got married before the legal minimum age of 21 as per recent large scale survey.  The same for urban Rajasthan are much less and are around 43 percent and 35 percent respectively.
The proportion of girls marrying during 2007-09 below legal age is 22 percent. In urban areas the corresponding percentage is only 9 percent.
The customary marriages under the legal age are seen to have been significantly reduced from 57% to 22% which is about 40%.
The traditional problem of marrying the daughters before the legal age of 18 years is still quite significant in Rajasthan. The districts of Rajasthan where the problem is more acute are: Bhilwara (54%), Rajsamand (42%), Bundi (38%), Jhalawar (37%), Tonk (36%) and Dausa (35%).
The median age at first marriage among women age 20-49 in Rajasthan was 15 years as per NFHS. But the mean age for females is around 20 years as per recent held Annual Health survey (AHS).  Men average age at marriage is just two years later.  In urban Rajasthan the respective mean ages for women and men are 21.4 years and 24.2 years respectively.
The following table has compared the mean age at marriage for both the males and females for Rajasthan State:

Mean Age at  Marriage for Females
Mean Age at  Marriage for Males
Gap in Mean Age at Marriage

It can be inferred that most of the females of Rajasthan are marring around their late nineties or early twenties.  The gap should be least possible as it has been seen that females live longer than males on the average.  Over the years, the mean age at marriage has been advancing in both rural as well in urban areas, if one compares the presented two data sets.  It has been also observed that Urban areas are witnessing late marriages than their rural counter parts.  

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