Arranged marriage statistics are still a subject of discussion, given that more than half of marriages worldwide are made this way, but what is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about arranged marriages?
Chances are, you are horrified by the thought of having no say in who and when you’ll marry. Well, you might be surprised to find out that leaving marriage arrangements to the elders, entirely or partially, is something that young people in certain countries actually prefer.
While this phenomenon continues persistently across cultures and centuries well into 2021, these arranged marriage facts may shift your standpoint. The facts and figures of arranged marriages, exposed by these stats, might shock you in more than one way.
Top 10 Arranged Marriage Statistics for 2021
- History of arranged marriages shows that until the 18th century, most marriages in the world were arranged.
- Stats on arranged marriages show that they are most present in the world’s most numerous nations.
- Niger could have saved up to $1.7 billion additional welfare by 2030 if it had abolished child marriages in 2015.
- Arranged marriage statistics count more than 26 million unions worldwide.
- 55% of UK mothers of Pakistani origins are in cousin marriages.
- “Green card marriage” is the most common form of arranged marriage in America.
- Stats on arranged marriages show that 74% of India’s youth prefer arranged marriages over finding a partner independently.
- Arranged marriage divorce rate is 6.4%, but the separation number is twice that much.
- 80 different studies show that the deliberate aspect of the union is one of the most significant arranged marriage advantages.
- 27.3% of the cases of child brides aged below 15 are recorded in Bangladesh, arranged marriage statistics show.
Worldwide Statistics on Arranged Marriages
Arranged marriages are a sensitive and highly controversial topic, so discussing or analyzing them is never simple. Before we introduce some country-specific stats, let’s set the general arranged wedding statistics, facts and numbers straight first.
1. Stats on arranged marriages show that they are most present in the world’s most numerous nations.
India is the world leader in arranged marriages (88.4%), but Indians are not the only ones who arrange their marriages. Unlike them, the Chinese can choose their partner, but the family arranged marriage statistics show that negotiations are still mostly done by the elders, potentially leading to their marriage.
A version of arranged marriages, known as Shidduch, is practiced in Israel. It allows Jewish singles to date previously picked potential partners for marriage.
In Pakistan, where Sharia law is in full force, women cannot marry without parental consent; marriages are mostly arranged long before children reach their marrying years – late teens.
2. History of arranged marriages shows that until the 18th century, most marriages in the world were arranged.
In the past, the majority of marriages worldwide were arranged until the 18th century, when they started to lose popularity. Young members of royal families were mostly married by proxies and to strengthen political alliances.
Furthermore, history shows that arranged marriages were common in every religion and socio-economic status due to economic, social, or political gains.
Interestingly, in Egypt, the main goal of arranged consanguineous marriages was to keep the purity of the royal bloodline, which resulted in the manifestation of many genetic illnesses.
3. Arranged marriage statistics count more than 26 million unions worldwide.
(Future scopes) (Desi Blitz)
26,250,000 of global marriages in 2012, or 53.25%, were arranged marriages, according to Statistic Brain’s survey. These marriages were prevalent in the region of South Asia, with India and Pakistan at the top.
The Middle Eastern countries also traditionally practice marriage arrangements, notably in Israel, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Oman. Arranged unions are very present in Africa, as well.
To a lesser extent, Japan and China also belong to the group of arranged marriage countries.
4. Arranged marriage divorce rate is 6.4%, but the separation number is twice that much.
(Desi Blitz) (UN)
Worldwide statistics on the arranged marriage divorce rate show a significantly lower percentage than those of non-arranged marriages.
Divorce rates vary across countries, counting a higher percentage in Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt, Qatar, and Jordan (20-35%). India, on the other hand, has only a 1.2% divorce rate.
However, a 2012 study conducted in India shows that while 240,000 couples were divorced, 610,000 married couples were separated, suggesting that arranged marriages are not as successful as it was previously thought.
5. 55% of UK mothers of Pakistani origins are in cousin marriages.
(Daily Mail) (Science Times)
Many arranged marriage articles analyze the emergence of consanguinity in arranged marriages. The term means marrying a person who is a close relative. Many statistics can attest to this practice globally, but they reveal that this phenomenon is mainly present in small immigrant communities.
For example, in Birmingham, half of the Pakistani mothers are married to a close relative resulting in 1 in 10 incidences of either death in infancy or life-long genetic defects in children. Another example of consanguinity is the Rindi culture in Indonesia, where 2 in 3 men marry their maternal first cousins.
6. Arranged marriage success rate indicates that women in semi and self-arranged marriages are three times more included in decision-making than those in family-arranged marriages.
Statistics and observations made in the newest UN report for women’s progress show that women who participate in partially arranged marriages and self-arranged marriages enjoy greater authority within the formed union than those whose marriages were entirely arranged by their families.
Moreover, they are also less likely to experience marital violence, and they are more involved in making important decisions, such as the optimal time to have children or financial management.
7. “Green card marriage” is the most common form of arranged marriage in America.
The U.S. Census Bureau statistics show that over 450,000 Americans each year marry foreign-born individuals and petition for their permanent residency permission (green card). 25% of all issued green cards in 2007 were attributed to American spouses, making it the most utilized path for immigration in the US.
While a substantial part of these arranged marriages is made to endure, the USCIS revealed that between 5% and 30% of all such marriages were sham marriages.
8. 80 different studies show that the deliberate aspect of the union is one of the most significant arranged marriage advantages.
Robert Epstein, a Research Psychologist at the AIBRT, analyzed results from 80 different studies and 70 individuals. He concluded that arranged marriages work because they are based on both spouses’ proactive attitudes that make deliberate efforts for the marriage to last.
On the other side, in Western culture, marriages are often based on individuals who wait for the highly-advertised love to happen by itself. Just to give you an example, marriage stats show that 88% of Americans think love should be the primary reason you should get married.
What’s more, according to Epstein, the perspective of the third party involved in arranged marriages can be beneficial for a better, impartial standpoint when making a choice.
Pre-arranged Marriage Statistics — Child Brides
This is undoubtedly the most alarming and controversial aspect of arranged marriages. Every year, millions of children and teenagers are forced to enter marriages all around the world. To raise awareness about this matter, let’s get more acquainted with the numbers behind it.
9. Worldwide arranged marriages facts expose that, every year, over 11 million girls younger than 18 enter forced marriages.
The so-called child brides are teenage girls that are victims of non-consensual arranged marriages. In 2012, around 11,250,000 girls worldwide, aged below 18, were forced to marry. In developing countries, arranged marriages involving young brides are a way for low-income families to gain economic advantages.
As much as 46.4% of marriages in South Asia and 42% of the unions in Africa are of this type, together making for one-third of the total number globally.
10. 27.3% of the cases of child brides aged below 15 are recorded in Bangladesh, arranged marriage statistics show.
The research led by Statistic Brain displayed shocking figures suggesting that 11% of girls younger than 15 are victims of forced marriages in the developing countries. Following Bangladesh at the top, other countries with a high percentage (26%) of child brides are Niger, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan.
Due to the persistence of this type of child abuse, protecting laws are being adopted worldwide. For example, in 2014, the Indian Supreme Court decided to treat sexual relationships between child brides and their husbands as rape.
11. Niger could have saved up to $1.7 billion additional welfare by 2030 if it had abolished child marriages in 2015.
Stats on arranged marriages show that child marriages have an enormous economic impact on society, mostly due to decreased productivity and reproduction.
Brides younger than 18 have a 26% greater number of children, which in developing countries results in population growth that is far ahead of the national economic development.
Furthermore, babies born to a mother younger than 18 have a 3.5% increased chance of dying under the age of five. This is why ending child marriages strengthens the economy in developing countries.
In the case of Niger, by 2030, it could have reached an additional $1.7 billion in welfare and an additional $34 million through reduced infant mortality if only it had abolished child marriages in 2015.
Arranged Marriage in India: Statistics and Facts
Every story has two sides, so let’s look into numbers that are a bit different. Various statistics on arranged marriages reveal that most people in India don’t mind and even prefer arranged marriages. So, here is how arranged marriages look from their perspective.
12. Stats on arranged marriages show that 74% of India’s youth prefer arranged marriages over finding a partner independently.
A 2013 survey by IPSOS found that the vast majority (74%) of the young population (aged 18-35 years) preferred entering an arranged union over independently finding a partner.
However, this percentage doesn’t match one of the arranged marriages – 88.4% of the total numbers (according to Statistic Brain survey for 2012).
This concludes that, while arranged marriages persist as an important tradition across centuries in India, not everyone enters these arranged unions full-heartedly. Education, geographic location, and socio-economics can play a part in their incidence.
13. Arranged marriage statistics show that 66% of the Indian brides met their husbands on or around the wedding day.
Marriage in India is one of the most important events in people’s lives. Statistics show that less than 2% of men and 1% of young women in India stay unmarried. Compared to other developing countries, India has one of the lowest average ages at marriage, which is between 14 and 25 for women. Also, most men are married before they turn 32.
14. Stats on marriage show that in India, at least 34.5 million people use web services to arrange a marriage.
(Quartz India) (Statista)
Online web services in India are becoming increasingly popular to arrange a marriage. Almost any available online tool is used for this purpose, including Tinder, Skype, and Facebook.
However, the most popular tool is a specialized site named Matrimony.com. Founded 20 years ago, it encompasses around 300 portals that serve different audiences, including divorced people, people with preferred occupations like doctors, wealthy Indians, and other nationalities. Today, Matrimony.com counts around 34.5 million users.
What percentage of arranged marriages end in divorce?
(IJII) (Desi Blitz) (NYTimes)
The worldwide divorce rate for all types of arranged marriages is estimated at 6.4%. The lowest divorce rates are present in the cultures that count big numbers of arranged unions and where non-consanguineous arranged marriages prevail. These rates include Hindus in India and Ultra-Orthodox Jews of Israel, cultures with 3% and 7% divorce rates.
In the US, the divorce rates in arranged marriages for all communities is estimated at around 4%. The lowest rate (1%) is recorded in the Amish communities across the US. Additionally, in India, only 1.2% of arranged marriages are unsuccessful.
Which country has the most arranged marriages?
(Future scopes) (Desi Blitz)
A 2012 study conducted by Statistic Brain revealed that around 50.25% of marriages worldwide are arranged, with India leading in numbers and percentages (almost 90%). However, different types of arranged marriages are prevalent in different world regions.
For example, South Asia has the highest percentage of forced marriages for girls under 18. Africa is second in forced marriages, and together with South Asia, it represents a third of the total number worldwide.
Pakistan, Japan, China, and Israel are the countries with the most pre-arranged marriages.
What percentage of Indians have arranged marriages?
88.4% of the marriages in India are a fruit of an arrangement. Obviously, across centuries, arranged marriage in India remains a traditional norm. Usually, the elders of the respective families take on the role of arranging everything, from the husband/wife to the date and economics of the matrimonial ceremony.
Moreover, there are a few important strict norms that the elders follow when arranging a marriage. Some of them are religion, caste, and even the sub-caste in some cases, all of which have to match in both of the future spouses.
Do arranged marriages last longer?
(Desi Blitz) (UN) (WF Lawyers)
In the US, around 40-50% of non-arranged marriages end in divorce. The divorce rate in arranged marriages is considerably lower and depends mostly on the type of arrangement, but the percentage of divorce is usually below 10%.
However, arranged marriages divorce rates do not tell the whole story. In cultures where divorced people are stigmatized, and divorce itself is regarded taboo, the unhappy couples frequently choose the alternative path to divorce – separation. A 2016 study conducted in India shows that the number of separated couples is more than double the number of divorced couples.
Do arranged marriages work?
(Psychology Today) (Desi Blitz)
Given the low arranged marriage divorce incidence, one might think this is the best way to go about marriages. However, studies that explore the satisfaction rate of both autonomous and arranged marriages show mixed results. The success of arranged marriages seems to depend on how marriage is perceived, more precisely what parts of practicality and passion are preferred in a marriage.
Stats on arranged marriages show that these institutions have deep cultural and religious roots that continue to endure the test of time. Their history is impressive both in the tradition and stability of the formed unions.
While some practices like the peculiarity of child brides are legally and morally repugnant, other statistics involving arranged marriages of consensual adults throw a positive light on this tradition. Such are, for example, the divorce statistics that attest to the efficacy of such arranged unions.
While the debate is still hanging in the air, one must admit that both positive and negative aspects contribute equally to arranged marriage statistics. The discussion should include tolerance and appreciation for the different points of view regarding this phenomenon.