CAIRO: While female respondents to a poll placed the optimum age for marriage at 21-22, the average marriage age for women in 2008 was 24, according to a study released by the Cabinet’s Information and Decision Support Center (IDSC).
The number varies according to the geographic location: in urban areas the average age was 22.4 in 2008 compared to 19.4 in rural areas.
The study reported that the average marriage age for men is 29, which differed from the results reported in the poll where male respondents said 25-26 years old is the best age for marriage.
Male respondents said the optimum marriage age for women is 21, while female respondents said it is 26.
The study also found that in 2006, the percentage of unmarried women in the 30-39 age bracket was 5 percent, up from 3.9 percent in 1996.
The average age for first marriages for women between 25 and 49 was 20.6-years-old in 2008, up from 19.2 in 1992.
The study pointed to a number of factors that impede marriage, including the associated expenses, cited by 61 percent of males and 59 percent of females.
The hassle of finding an apartment came in second, according to 52 percent of males and 46 percent of females.
Finding a job placed third, as cited by 20 percent of males and 40 percent of females.
Only four percent of female respondents attributed the delay in marriage to the fact that they haven’t found the suitable partner.
Respondents made a number of suggestions to facilitate marriages, including creating job opportunities, offering apartments for newlyweds at an affordable rent and providing social funds to support young couples.
Respondents also called on parents to be moderate in their demands for dowry and the wedding ring.
According to a study by the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS), the number of unmarried women between 30 and 35 is 156,000, and reaches 78,000 in the 35-40 age bracket.
The total number of unmarried women above the age of 30 is 317,000, which constitutes 8.2 percent of the total number of women in this age group.
The highest marriage rates in the Arab World are in Jordan, followed by Algeria and the lowest rates are in Qatar and Kuwait.