Statistics Estonia: Increasing number of women marrying younger men ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Tallinn Vital Statistics Office on Pärnu mnt.
Tallinn Vital Statistics Office on Pärnu mnt. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Statistics for the past 10 years shows that the share of women getting married to men at least two years older is decreasing among the overall number of women getting married, while the number of marriages where the bride is at last two years older than the groom is increasing, Statistics Estonia wrote on Tuesday.

During 2019, a total of 6,701 marriages took place in Estonia, and in 17.2 percent of the marriages, the woman was at least two years older than the man. The average age difference in marriages where the bride was older than the groom was 5.1 years.

Of all marriages which took place last year, the man was older than the woman in 55.8 percent. The average age difference for these couples was 6.2 years.

In the case of 26.9 percent of all marriages, the age difference of the couple was 12 months at most. 

The youngest brides in 2019 were aged 16 and the youngest groom was 18. The oldest woman to enter into a marriage was 82 years old and the oldest man was 86 years old. 

Statistics Estonia observed the dynamics in the age difference of couples getting married has to be viewed in comparison with earlier periods. The agency holds data about marriages in Estonia since 1992, and within that time period three periods of different patterns can be distinguished.

The transition from one period to another happens not within a short time such as one year, but over a longer period of time, the blog post said.

In the period from 1992-1998, 55 percent of women in Estonia got married to men older than them. The share of marriages between partners of the same age was 28 percent, whereas the share of marriages where the man was younger than the woman rose at the beginning of the period and then stayed at 17 percent.

Over the next decade, in the years 1999-2009, the share of women getting married to men older than them was higher than 58 percent. The number of couples of the same age getting married meanwhile dropped to 26 percent on the average. The share of men marrying a woman older than them declined to about 16 percent.

In the past decade, the share of marriages contracted between partners of the same age has been stable at around 27 percent. The share of women getting married to men older than them declined further to 56 percent, whereas the share of men marrying women older than them has been constantly growing and now stands above 17 percent.

Summing up the changes that have taken place over time, it can be said that the dynamics in the shares of men marrying a partner of their age and of those marrying a partner older than them is following practically parallel lines.

The share of women getting married to men older than them meanwhile was relatively low at the beginning of the period examined, has risen, and has been declining again in the past decade. 

Compared with other times, the share of women getting married to men older than them was low in the 1990s, made a notable leap in 2000, and was constantly declining in the 2010s.

The transitions between these periods coincide with major changes in the economy, such as the big Russian crisis of the end of the1990s and the big financial crisis of 2008.

The question may now be asked what the impact of the coronavirus on the economy will eventually be and how it will start impacting the choice of partners for marriage in the future. Of course, only time will tell, the blog post said.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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