Marriage holdup among highly-educated Iranian girls

Maryam Fallah Toule Kolaei, University of Tehran
Tavakkol Aghayari Hir, University of Tabriz

During past two decades, Iran has got great gains in terms of educational attainment of all its members, which in turn, altered basic social and cultural believes and tenets, such as those believes relating to marital behavior. Literacy rate for total population is almost 80 percent, and for some five years girls counting for 60 percent of registered people in complementary studies (Universities). Under the influences of many socio-economic factors- as claimed, mostly because of economic hardships- Iranian boys and girls now delay marriage till the second half of their thirties, however, marriage is almost universal. What remain attentive are considerable proportions of highly educated girls (especially in rural areas) who never find the chance of marriage till the end of their usual fertile life. Using information of more than 950,000 10-54 individuals (drawn from a 2-percent sample of census 2006), the effects of rising levels of Iranian girls’ educational attainment on their marital outcomes are studied and discussed. Preliminary findings show that proportions of girls with university level educations, who are never-married by the ages of 40-44 and 45-49, are around 10.35 and 7.6 percent, respectively, which clearly compare to those of girls with lower educational attainment (1.5 percent never-married) and to those of boys of the same age and the same educational attainment (with around 2 percent never-married). Though traditionally, educated girls were more likely to be chosen as Brides (both frequently and sooner), it seems they are loosing this advantage in Iranian marriage market! Findings hypothesize that highly educated girls are more likely to remain unmarried comparing to both boys and girls of lower education. Partial explanations for these observations and their policy implications are further discussed.

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Presented in Poster Session 3