Changes in the Marriage Patterns of Northern and Southern States of India, 1971-2011

Akhilesh Yadav, T. B. Singh, Minakshi Vishwakarma


Marriage is a universal phenomenon in India. As the country has passed through significant changes in socioeconomic, cultural and demographic spheres in recent decades, it is reflected on marriage. This paper examines the changes in marriage patterns in northern and southern parts of India, two different regions in terms of geography, culture and demography. Singulate Mean Age at Marriage for women has increased in Northern region from 17.1 in 1971 to 21.4 in 2011, while in Southern region it has increased from 18.7 to 21.3. However, the age gap between spouses has decreased in Southern region over the three decades and in Northern region, it has not changed significantly. The proportion of ever-married women aged 15-19 years was higher in Northern region in 1971 but in 2011 it was lower as compared with Southern region although it has decreased in both the regions. The result of modernization,education and employment is reflected on the divorce rate. In 1991, 6.5 women per 1000 ever-married females were divorced or separated which reached 9.7 in 2011.Changes in marriage pattern have occurred in both the regions but the transition in northern region is rapid compared with the south.

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