Pakistan Institute of Development Economics



Age at Marriage in Pakistan

The fertility of a population is the consequence of a number of different but interrelated, demographic, social and economic causes. In a country, such as Pakistan, where total fertility is high [16] and the population young [8], age at marriage of women is one of the major determinants of future fertility. In a non-industrial society marriage is often the most important factor which regulates the production of off-spring [9]. The pattern of marriage varies greatly from one country to another under the influence of social factors, and the gross expectation of marital life below the age of 50 years (a rough estimate of the end of the fecund period) for a girl at the beginning of fecund period varies from about two decades in European countries to about three decades in Tropical Africa [9]1. Because the upper age limit of the fecund period is biologically determined, age at marriage is the major factor which regulates the potential reproductive span of women. Coale and Tye, using the stable population technique, have demonstrated that in general fertility declines with an increased age at marriage, which in fact means the shortening of the average marital life span [2]. In the Mysore population study it was estimated that if no woman married before reaching 18 years of age, then the overall fertility would decline by about 15 per cent [13]. Agarwala, in 1965, estimated that in India an increase in average age at marriage from existing 15.6 years to 19-20 years, would result in an annual crude birth rate 30 years latter of 33.9 births per 1000 population instead of 47.8, a decline of 29 per cent [1]. Sadiq [11] has observed that in

Syed Iqbal Alam

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