Wed­ding belles in steep de­cline, study says

Record num­ber of women stay sin­gle


More Thai women are in the “never-mar­ried” cat­e­gory than ever be­fore and more than half pre­fer to re­main sin­gle, ac­cord­ing to a study con­ducted by Chu­la­longkorn Univer­sity Col­lege of Pop­u­la­tion Stud­ies (CPS).

A study of 9,457 women aged 15-49 from 15,222 house­holds na­tion­wide found that 9% have never been mar­ried, a 5.5-per­cent­age-point rise from 2001.

The re­search found the per­cent­age of never-mar­ried women aged 45-49 has in­creased from 5% in 2001 to 6.5%, while the num­ber of never-mar­ried women aged 40-44 has risen from 6% in 2001 to 8%.

“What sur­prises us is the fig­ure of nev­er­mar­ried women aged be­tween 35-39 which has in­creased sharply to 12% from about 7% in 2001. This re­flects the fact that younger women are less likely to get mar­ried,” At­ta­porn Sukolta­marn, a lec­turer at CPS, said.

He said 62.4% of never-mar­ried women aged be­tween 35-39, 66.5% of nev­er­mar­ried women aged 40-44 and 75.8% of never-mar­ried women aged 45-49, re­spec­tively, say they have no in­ten­tion of get­ting mar­ried.

Ms At­ta­porn said the two key fac­tors in a woman’s de­ci­sion to re­main un­mar­ried are higher ed­u­ca­tion and less pres­sure from so­ci­ety to get mar­ried.

“Thai par­ents seem to give pri­or­ity to ed­u­ca­tion rather than pres­sur­ing their daugh­ters to tie the knot,” said Ms At­ta­porn.

An­other fac­tor that makes women choose to be sin­gle is they may not have found the right per­son, she said.

Ms At­ta­porn said work­ing women nowa­days pre­fer to fo­cus on their ca­reers and their chances to travel the world. This life­style gives them less chance of find­ing a life part­ner.

She said the av­er­age age of Thai women get­ting mar­ried is now 25, but the fig­ure is likely to grow if this trend con­tin­ues.

“About 75% of mar­ried women in our study also be­lieved they can live a happy life with­out hav­ing chil­dren,” Ms At­ta­porn said.

Vi­pan Prachuab­mor, dean of CPS, said t he de­cline of mar­riage i ndi­cates that Thai­land is fac­ing a risk of a pop­u­la­tion-age im­bal­ance.

The level of fer­til­ity, re­fer­ring to births per woman, is now at the low­est in Thai his­tory, he said.

The to­tal fer­til­ity rate dropped from more than six births per woman be­fore 1970 to 1.86 in 2001 and to 1.69 at present.

“Thai­land has the high­est pro­por­tion of el­derly peo­ple out of all de­vel­op­ing coun­tries in the Asia-Pa­cific re­gion,” Ms Vi­pan said.

“Our el­derly are not be­ing suf­fi­ciently re­placed by new cit­i­zens, so we must plan for good wel­fare, health care and fi­nan­cial se­cu­rity for the el­derly.”

Ms Vi­pan said the gov­ern­ment and pri­vate sec­tor need to work hand-in-hand to han­dle the age­ing so­ci­ety chal­lenge.

For ex­am­ple, pri­vate com­pa­nies should be en­cour­aged to hire el­derly work­ers.

Some tax in­cen­tives may be re­quired to get com­pa­nies to ad­just their work­ing en­vi­ron­ments and im­prove labour pro­duc­tiv­ity, and pro­mote tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vance­ment.

She said the gov­ern­ment should pro­vide more ac­tion plans on how to main­tain the the eb­bing fer­til­ity rate, she said.

The gov­ern­ment has voiced con­cern about Thai­land be­com­ing a grey­ing so­ci­ety like other Asian na­tions such as Ja­pan.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Thailand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.