More getting married later or not at all
Source: The Star Online
KUALA LUMPUR: Fewer Malaysian men and women want to tie the knot now compared with 10 years ago.
A recent survey by the National Population and Family Development Board on trends between 2000 and 2007 indicated that the average marriage age of marrying Malaysians would increase to 33 years by 2015 or they may choose not to get married at all.
Universiti Malaya’s Associate Professor Tey Nai Peng said the average age at first marriage for men and women had increased from 25.5 and 22.0 years respectively in 1970 to 28.6 and 25.1 years in 2000.
Also, the number of those who had never been married between the ages of 25 and 29 years had more than doubled for women from 13% to 29%, and rose from 32% to 54% among men, he added.
“Although marriage behaviour varies widely across the various ethnic groups and regions, the general trend is one of rising age at marriage and non-marriage at all,” he said during the consultative forum on population strategic plan research conducted by the board here yesterday.
Tey noted that education and career considerations had expanded women’s horizons, giving them opportunities which competed with marriage.
“Traditionally, women tended to marry men with at least the same level of education. But with higher educational levels, more and more women are now having difficulty finding compatible partners,” he said.
Issues like migration, urbanisation and modernisation had also resulted in women having
more autonomy in making decisions, including in those relating to marriage, he pointed out.
Tey said the younger generation was becoming more self-centred, with modern women having high expectations and becoming choosy when it came to finding mates.
Board director-general Datuk Aminah Abdul Rahman said current marriage trends were contributing to the rapid decrease in fertility rates for Malaysians.
“The changing role of women is the main reason for their infertility. They are getting married later now or not at all as they build a career alongside men to become equal breadwinners,” she said on recent data showing that Malaysians were now having fewer babies.
She said more focus should be placed on ways to increase the percentage of marriages instead of blaming any gender.