Age at Marriage in Pakistan

Syed Iqbal Alam


The fertility of a population is the consequence of a number
of different but interrelated, demographic, social and economic causes.
In a country, such as Pakistan, where total fertility is high [16] and
the population young [8], age at marriage of women is one of the major
determinants of future fertility. In a non-industrial society marriage
is often the most important factor which regulates the production of
off-spring [9]. The pattern of marriage varies greatly from one country
to another under the influence of social factors, and the gross
expectation of marital life below the age of 50 years (a rough estimate
of the end of the fecund period) for a girl at the beginning of fecund
period varies from about two decades in European countries to about
three decades in Tropical Africa [9]1. Because the upper age limit of
the fecund period is biologically determined, age at marriage is the
major factor which regulates the potential reproductive span of women.
Coale and Tye, using the stable population technique, have demonstrated
that in general fertility declines with an increased age at marriage,
which in fact means the shortening of the average marital life span [2].
In the Mysore population study it was estimated that if no woman married
before reaching 18 years of age, then the overall fertility would
decline by about 15 per cent [13]. Agarwala, in 1965, estimated that in
India an increase in average age at marriage from existing 15.6 years to
19-20 years, would result in an annual crude birth rate 30 years latter
of 33.9 births per 1000 population instead of 47.8, a decline of 29 per
cent [1]. Sadiq [11] has observed that in

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