Saudi Arabia: Number of unmarried women sharply rising, say experts

As delaying the age of marriage for both young men and women in the Kingdom has become more common, experts say the number of unmarried women has increased in recent years.

The number has grown 15 times in comparison to 1995, according to official statistics. The Kingdom is thus in second place among countries in which the percentage of single people has increased over the past two decades.

Delaying the age of marriage and the growing number of single women are undoubtedly closely linked, experts say. While many young people choose to delay marriage until they are socially and psychologically ready, many women find themselves in situations where their chances of marriage have significantly narrowed.

Among the several reasons that lead to a delay in marriage are the higher costs of living and greater financial responsibilities, says economist Dr. Salem Bajajah. Many young men are unable to afford property and meet household costs and so choose to work longer and accumulate more money.

Bajajah called on authorities to revaluate employees’ salaries in order to maintain a standard above the established poverty line. Recent surveys indicate that SR8,000 is a minimum subsistence requirement.

Social views and realities also contribute to delayed marriage, says Aisha Hattan, a social worker at the Society for Family Protection in Jeddah. “Exaggerated requirements for marriage these days, such as big weddings, parties, social appearances, as well as new ways of thinking among young women suggesting that they choose careers and independence, have all had their influences on the age for marriage.”

Dr. Khaled bin Omar Al-Radeean, an associate professor of sociology at King Saud University, says such views are common among both men and women.

In addition to factors such as psychological and intellectual preparedness, psychologists cite high marriage costs, the lack of job opportunities, a weakness of religious faith and society’s perception of youth as unproductive and inefficient influence many to delay the age of marriage.


Categories: Arab World, Asia, Saudi Arabia

3 replies

  1. The main reason behind this issue are our elders who force us not to marry until we “men” are settled down. Their definition of settling down is to own a car, a house, good job with attractive salary and much more.
    Responsible are women too as none wants to marry a man who just start his professional life and is settling down.

    This is against what our Prophet Muhammad S.A.W.W and Allah Subhan-T’Allah said.

  2. Yes, in the 802 I remember that boys as Yong as 18 used to be married before they left for higher education in some foreign country. All the cost of education, housing and expenses were borne by the saudi government.
    Saudi Families got stipends on monthly basis, university students were paid upto 5000 rivals for continuing their studies. (Nowadays admission is tough and a medical student friend of mine got only 1000 for expenses but his young wife was very economical and they managed but his father provided the rent)

    Millions of saudis don’t own thir own houses which should been the first priority of this oil rich nation and rent is way too high compared to wages.

    The local clerics do not address this issues in the Fridays prayers and austerity and living simply being the backbone of the Islamic way of life is being ignored.

    BTW all the sermons are regulated by the government and the government is being regulated by strong economic foreign hands who would not want their profits and such huge market jeopardised in anyway.

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