In honor of Tu B’Av, celebrated in Israel as “the Holiday of Love”, the Central Bureau of Statistics has released data on the state of marriage in the Jewish state.
Marriage in Israel in the 21st Century
In the year 2014, 50,797 couples were married inside of Israel in ceremonies recognized by the state. Of those, 36,900 – or 72.6% of all marriages that year – were Jewish couples, compared to 11,878 Muslim marriages (23.3%), 1,078 Druze marriages (2.1%), and 860 Christian marriages (1.7%).
The gross marriage rate that year was 6.2 per 1,000 citizens – 6.0 per 1,000 among Jews, 8.3 among Muslims, 8.0 among Druze, and 5.3 among Christians.
At 6.2 per 1,000 citizens, the annual marriage rate in Israel was relatively high in 2014 among industrialized nations, with the OECD member states ranging from 3.0 per 1,000 in Portugal and Luxembourg to 7.9 per 1,000 in Turkey.
At what age are Israelis getting married?
In 2014 the average age among grooms getting married for the first time was 27.6. Among first-time brides, the age was 25.0.
From 1969 to 2014 the average age among first-time brides and grooms rose significantly, rising almost 3 years for grooms and 3.5 years for brides. The age gap between brides and grooms accordingly declined over the same period, falling from an average difference of 3.3 years to 2.6.
Among Jews the age gap between first-time brides and grooms shrank even more dramatically, falling from 3.2 years to just 2.
The average age of Muslim brides and grooms also rose at similar rates, though the age gap remained relatively wide, falling from 4.4 years to 4.2.
Types of marriages
Of the nearly 37,000 Jewish marriages which took place in 2014, 87% were the first marriage for both the bride and groom. In addition, 5.1% were between two people who had both been married in the past (and had either divorced or been widowed), while 4.4% were between grooms who had been married previously with first-time brides, and 2.9% between first time grooms and brides who had been married in the past.
Bachelors and Bachelorettes
With Israelis waiting longer to get married, the number of bachelors and bachelorettes has sharply increased.
While only 28% of Jewish men aged 25-29 were single in 1970, a whopping 65% of Jewish men in that age group in 2014 were bachelors. Among Jewish women, the jump was equally sharp, rising from 13% in 1970 to 50% in 2014.
Even among middle aged Israelis the rate of bachelorhood has risen, with 11% of Jewish men aged 45-49 in 2014 being single, compared to just 3% in 1970. Among Jewish women, the rate increased from 2% in 1970 to 9% in 2014.