Assessing Evidence of Delayed Marriage and Never-Marriage in Contemporary Egypt
Public discourse in contemporary Egypt frequently uses the language of crisis to describe the state of marriage today. In particular, media commentators and policymakers have expressed anxiety over the rising prevalence of involuntary singlehood among young people. Using data from the Egypt Labor Market Panel Survey, this chapter examines trends and differentials in delayed marriage and never-marriage, arguing that there is little empirical support for a marriage crisis, which is more myth than reality. Marriage remains virtually universal in Egypt, and while recent cohorts of men and women marry later today than they did in the past, the average age at first marriage is by no means high by international standards. The chapter also investigates the cost of marriage, the factor most commonly blamed for the so-called marriage crisis, and finds that marriage expenses, while prohibitively high for many, have in fact declined over time.
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