Institute for Social and Economic Change
Working Paper: 275
An Investigation into the Pattern of
Delayed Marriage in India
Marriage patterns are undergoing discernible change throughout the world, including in several East and South East Asian countries. In India, certain shifts have been observed in the age at marriage. This paper attempts to examine the scenario of delayed marriage in India using data from different rounds of the National Family Health Survey (NFHS). Keeping in view the limitations of census data and age at marriage as an indicator of timing of marriage, the paper also attempts to explore the impact of select predictors on the likelihood of getting married for females in the age groups 20-24 years and 25-29 years. The findings indicate that the reasons underlying delayed marriage with respect to the 20-24 years age group and the 25-29 years age group differ. Multivariate analysis clearly shows that once education is controlled, along with cultural factors, the apparent difference observed in women from Northern India belonging to the age group 20-24 years compared to women from other regions of India in the same age group vanishes. The conventional argument that the cultural milieu of each state decides the timing of marriage may become more prominent, perhaps for women belonging to the age group 25-29 years.