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Being single in your 30s isn't bad luck, it's a global phenomenon

https://qz.com/1443640/being-single-in-your-30s-isnt-bad-luck-its-a-global-phenomenon/

qz.com

Being single in your 30s isn't bad luck, it's a global phenomenon
Researcher Nancy Smith-Hefner was chatting to university students in the city of Yogyakarta, Indonesia, when she noticed a trend. In a country with near "universal marriage," where only 2% of women in their late 40s are estimated to have never married, young women were saying they wanted to finish their education and embark on fulfilling careers before getting hitched.

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The phenomenon of "waithood"

Across the globe, women are increasingly experiencing waithood, a term that refers to delaying decisions, like finishing an education and embarking on a career before getting married. 

The term was coined in 2008 and relates to both genders. At its root, it is economic.

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The problem is mostly economic

Young men across large parts of the world are holding back from relationships and starting families because of unemployment and low wages. This is especially true in places where high dowry payments are expected.

Even places like Greece, Spain, and France are experiencing age-related fertility problems because young people can't afford the trappings of adulthood.

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A growing trend

The situation of singledom is increasing in women globally. 

  • In a range of places, women are becoming the majority of students at university over men, and desire to engage in their career with zeal, which delays marriage.
  • One multi-country study from sub-Saharan Africa found that even when women themselves hadn't received a more formal education, they were likely to delay marriage if it was the norm around them.

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The searching game

More and more educated and ambitious women are finding themselves unable to find the mate that they want at the time they’re searching.

The kind of men they are searching for, ready to commit and to start a family, and with similar levels of education and ambition, are not available in the same numbers as are needed.

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To wait or not to wait

  • 15% of American adults use dating apps
  • In a predominantly Muslim culture like Indonesia, some are turning to matchmakers, or to events that offer introductions to potential partners.

The alternative is either for a paradigm shift or waithood where people put the next stage of their lives on hold because they are unable to find a partner or are held back financially.

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In the Middle Age, one only needed to have reached the age for puberty in order to be able to get married.

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Marriage statistics

  • In 1997, the median age for a first marriage was 27.4 for women and 29.5 for men.
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  • In Norway, the median age at first marriage is 39 for men and 38 for women, and weddings often take place long after a couple starts to have children.

Replacing marriage

In 2012, 57 percent of Americans believed it is alright for a couple to live together without intending to get married.

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