Men and women from Kerala and Tamil Nadu are marrying later than the average Indian, revealed a survey released by the Registrar General of India. According to the Sample Registration Baseline Survey, as of January 2014, the average age of marriage for a man in Kerala is 27.3 years – the highest in India, while men in neighbouring Tamil Nadu marry on an average at the age of 25.6 years.
Karnataka ranks third together with Orissa and Assam with men in these states marrying when they are just over 25 years. Men in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana are marrying around the age of 23. Overall, the average age an Indian gets hitched is at 23.2 years, reveals the data.
Compared to the 2011 Census, the mean age of marriage for males in India has witnessed a marginal drop from 23.3 to 23.2 years.
Women in India are, on average, marrying at the age of 20, revealed the 2014 survey. This is a slight jump, compared to the 2011 Census data which pegged the mean age at 19.3 years. While women from Jammu and Kashmir were marrying at 22 years – the oldest in the country – Kerala’s and Tamil Nadu’s brides were close behind at 21.4 and 21.2 years. Neighbouring Karnataka’s women, on an average, get married at 20.6 years. Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, however, were below the national average, with women tying the knot at around 19 years.
Across South India, men in urban areas are getting married later than their rural counterparts. This trend is in line with the overall national trend, where men living in cities are getting hitched at the age of 24.2 years, while those in villages are wed at the age of 22.7 years.
Like men, South Indian women living in urban centres are also marrying later than those living in rural areas. Comparing the 2005 SRS survey with the January 2014 data provides several significant trends. Firstly, there has been no change nationally in the age of marriage for women in rural areas in nine years. It remains 19.7 years. But overall, Indian woman living in urban centres are getting married earlier from 21.7 years in 2005 to 20 years in 2014.
The 9-year shift
Although Kerala and Tamil Nadu’s women are older than brides in the rest of the country when they get hitched, looking at the nine-year shift presents a different picture. The age of marriage has decreased for women living in both urban and rural areas in Kerala and Tamil Nadu from 2005 to 2014. While women in Kerala were on an average getting wed at the age of 22.9 years in 2005, SRS survey’s latest data shows that they are marrying at 21.4 years. A similar trend prevails in Tamil Nadu too, with women marrying earlier from 21.8 years in 2005 to 21.2 years in 2014.
Unlike their neighbours, women from Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh are marrying later. From the average age of 20.1 in 2005, women in Karnataka are walking down the aisle at 20.6 years as of January 2014. Undivided Andhra Pradesh saw its women married at the age of 18.65 years in 2005. In 2014, Telangana’s women marry at 19.9 years while those in Andhra Pradesh get hitched at 19.7 years.