Friday, January 8, 2016

Baby booms and marriage squeezes

What is the consequence of a baby boom on marriage prospects, in societies in which husbands are customarily a few years older than their wives?  It's a 'marriage squeeze'. Here's a recent interesting article from Time, focusing on  marriages among observant Mormons and Jews (to others of the same religion, that is...), and, among Jews, the slightly different marriage patterns amongYeshivish Orthodox and Hasidic Jews (apparently Hasidic husbands and wives are often the same age).

What Two Religions Tell Us About the Modern Dating Crisis by Jon Birger
"The imbalance in the Orthodox marriage market boils down to a demographic quirk: The Orthodox community has an extremely high birth rate, and a high birth rate means there will be more 18-year-olds than 19-year-olds, more 19-year-olds than 20-year-olds, and so on and so on. Couple the increasing number of children born every year with the traditional age gap at marriage—the typical marriage age for Orthodox Jews is 19 for women and 22 for men, according to Michael Salamon, a psychologist who works with the Orthodox community and wrote a book on the Shidduch Crisis—and you wind up with a marriage market with more 19-year-old women than 22-year-old men.

"There is no U.S. Census data on religion. But Joshua Comenetz, chief of the Census Bureau’s Geographic Studies Branch, studied the demographics of Orthodox Jews back in his college professor days at University of Florida. Based on his academic research, Comenetz contended that each one-year age cohort in the Orthodox community has 4 percent more members than the one preceding it. What this means is that for every 100 22-year-old men in the Orthodox dating pool, there are 112 19-year-old women—12 percent more women than men."

"Both Yeshivish and Hasidic Jews are extremely pious and socially conservative. They live in tight-knit communities. They are known for having large families. And both groups use matchmakers to pair their young people for marriage.

"There is, however, one major cultural difference between the two groups: Hasidic men marry women their own age, whereas Yeshivish men typically marry women a three or four years their junior.

“In the Hasidic world, it would be very weird for a man to marry a woman two years younger than him,” said Alexander Rapaport, a Hasidic father of six and the executive director of Masbia, a kosher soup kitchen in Brooklyn. Both Rapaport and his wife were 36 when I interviewed him.

When I asked Rapaport about the Shidduch Crisis, he seemed perplexed. “I’ve heard of it,” he said, “but I’m not sure I understand what it’s all about.”

In fact, there is no Shidduch Crisis in the Hasidic community. “When I mention the term to Hasidim, they don’t know what I’m talking about,” said Samuel Heilman, a professor of sociology and Jewish studies at City University of New York and an expert on Hasidic Jews."

Here's an earlier post on the shidduchim crisis:

When assortative matching on age can interfere with matching

and here's a link to an earlier article by Mr Birger:

Unequal Gender Ratios at Colleges Are Driving Hookup Culture

HT: Scott Kominers

1 comment:

Unknown said...

While there is no U.S. Census data on religion, they do ask about language and Orthodox Jews are essentially the only people who speak Yiddish at home. Or at least they make up almost all of the growth in that population. So it is possible to study the growth in Orthodox demographics by looking at the Yiddish speaking population. It is also possible, assuming one has access to non-anonymized data, to look at surnames. HIMMELFARB, LOAR and MOTT (1983) pioneered this approach.