According to the Social Statistic Division of the National Statistical Office (NSO) under the Statistics Ministry, using published official data from different ministries and departments, the percentage share of young people who are not married is on the rise. Significantly, the trend is common among men as well as women.
Persons between the age group of 15 and 29 years are considered “youth” as per the National Youth Policy 2014 classification.
In the national context, the percentage of youth (15-29 years) who are never married has shown an increasing trend in male population from 20.8 per cent in 2011 to 26.1 per cent in 2019. A similar trend has been observed in the case of the female population.
According to the report, in 2019, the highest percentage share of youth who never married was observed in Jammu & Kashmir (28.1) followed by Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Punjab and the lowest was observed in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh.
Interestingly, the figures have come at a time when J&K’s Total Fertility Rate(TRF) has hit a grueling demographic milestone as the erstwhile state has fifth lowest Total Fertility rate(TFR) in the country besides the women’s TFR slipping below the replacement-level by 0.6 percent.
There are varied reasons for late marriages in Jammu and Kashmir. One among them includes poverty. Some experts blame dowry and believe that the society has made it to the point that it discreetly impinges upon the success of post-marital relationships.
There are other cases including education and employment and these are also instrumental in delaying marriage at an appropriate age. Getting higher qualification credentials consumes crucial years of life. The post-academic pursuit for getting adjusted, preferably with a government job, drags youth for years and it consumes a lot of time even as youth forget the count of forms they submit to get the most sought-after employment amid uncertainties.
Some rituals imposed by the society have also become indispensable and many find it hard to achieve.
Late marriage is also having a distinction in itself, intentional late marriage associated with one’s deliberate and intentional take and forced late marriage caused by poverty and social evils like dowry system, caste preference and so on.
Society has to see off the material mindset and misconceived myths to change the trend for better.
The focus must be on creating social awareness about reasons leading to late marriages. Societal demands must pave the way for greatness of simplicity in marriages.