New Delhi: About one-third of all married women in the country tied the knot before they were 18 year old as per the Census 2011 data released recently.
The proportion is much smaller in men, just 6%. But the best part is that majority of women got married by the time they were 25 years old.
Among those married up to four years prior to 2011, around 17% of women and just 3% men were below 18 years of age at the time of marriage. To compare this with the past, we can look at the age of marriage of people married at 20 or 30 or even 40 years ago. Among such middle aged and elderly persons, 50% of women and 16% of men reported getting married before they were 18 years old.
Clearly, much less people are marrying before the legally permitted ages of 18 years for women and 21 years for men, compared to earlier. But here's another fact: 92% of women were married by the time they reached 25 years of age. This was the case among those married up to four years before the Census in 2011. Among women married for 20 to 29 years, a huge 96% had got married by the time they reached the age of 25.
Among men, the situation was different earlier, and it has changed even more in recent years. Among men married in the past four years, nearly one-third got married after they had reached 26 years age. Between 20 and 30 years ago, the proportion of such men was 22%. Forty years ago, 12% men married after age 26.
The Census data also shows more men and women remain unmarried than earlier. In 2011, about 6.4% of all persons older than 25 years were unmarried. That works out to about 3.89 cr people - 2.89 cr men and 1 cr women. In 2001, the proportion of never married persons in the above 25 years age group was slightly lower at 5.3%. That's 2.5 cr persons - 1.95 cr men and 56 lakh women.