Potential (mis)match? Marriage markets amidst socio-demographic change in India 2005-2050

Ridhi Kashyap, University of Oxford and Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research
Albert Esteve, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Joan Garcia Roman, University of Minnesota

We explore the impact of socio-demographic change on marriage patterns in India by examining the hypothetical consequences of applying current marriage practices to future population projections by age and sex, and by age, sex and educational attainment. Future population prospects for India indicate three trends that will impact marriage patterns: i) female-deficit in sex ratios at birth; ii) declining birth cohort size; iii) female educational expansion. Existing literature posits a marriage squeeze on men arising from skewed sex ratios at birth (SRB) in India’s population. In addition to the impact of skewed SRBs, India’s population will also experience female educational expansion in the coming decades. Female educational expansion and its impact on marriage patterns must be jointly considered with demographic changes, given educational asymmetries in union formation that exist in India, as across much of the world. We first systematize contemporary propensities to marry (‘forces of attraction’) between men and women stratified by age and education and by age only by applying Schoen’s harmonic mean marriage function to data from the 2005-2006 Indian National Family Health Survey (NFHS) and the 2004 Socio-Economic Survey. We then apply estimated forces of attraction to IIASA/VID multi-state population projections by educational attainment using a longitudinal iterative projection procedure. If today’s age patterns of marriage are viewed against age-sex population composition until 2050, men experience a greater decline in marriage prevalence. However, when education is included, women, particularly those with higher education experience a steeper rise in non-marriage.

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Presented in Session 14: Families and households