A recently released study suggests that educated Indian women may find it harder to find a husband by 2050, especially those with a college degree.
The study believes that without any other changes in contemporary norms, the number of unmarried women between the ages of 45 and 49 will increase from 0.07% in 2010 to almost 9% by 2050. The largest increase will be found among college-educated women.
In addition, the study predicts a similar increase in the percentage of unmarried men, especially among those with little education. Currently, a large proportion of men tend to marry women in the country who have a lower education level than they do, as well as women who are younger than they are. As more women in the country receive a better education, researchers of the study suggest that highly educated women may find it harder to find a suitable mate.
According to a recent survey, over half of marriages in the country where the groom is college educated also feature a bride with no more than a primary or secondary school education. Around one-quarter of women who are educated to degree level “marry down” in a similar way.
Researchers looked at current data on marriage patterns in the country by age and education, comparing them to population projections pertaining to the likely age, sex and educational success of the population by 2050 in an effort to create an estimation of future marriage patterns.
Data was taken from India’s National Family Health Survey (2005-2006) and the India Socio-Economic Survey (1999, 2004), which showed 0.6% of women and 1.2% of men were unmarried as of age 50.
Population projection data from the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis and Vienna Institute of Demography estimate that by 2050 there will be 92 men for every 100 women between the ages of 25 and 29 in the higher education system. Current statistics show 151 men for every 100 women in the same age group.
Researchers believe that if marriage patterns in the country are reliant on the same age-sex structure in the future that it is now, both men and women will have more trouble finding a suitable mate by 2050. However, when education becomes an issue too, the number of suitors becomes much smaller for women.
According to lead author Ridhi Kashyap from the Department of Sociology at University of Oxford, traditional roles for both sexes continue to survive in India despite recent social and demographic changes.
“This research shows that the rigid social structure still experienced in India will need to bend so age and education are not barriers to future unions. “Otherwise, this research suggests the prospects of marriage for many in the future will diminish particularly for highly educated women and men with little education,” Kashyap said.