Arranged marriage statistics – To believe or not to believe?
Statistics about arranged marriages is rather hard to find. Even the census of India doesn’t shed light on the trends about arranged marriage in India. The situation is no better when it comes to arranged marriages outside India.
Some of the most reliable sources on arranged marriages statistics come from the National Council of Applied Economic Research in India (NCAER), Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and the United Nations.
The other set of sources of information on arranged marriages come from research studies that try to measure the quality and the longevity of arranged marriages. However, these research studies are plagued by small sample sizes or based on mystery sources.
Arranged marriage statistics are also conveniently used or manipulated to support an argument.
For example, based on this BBC article on increasing divorce rates in India, we cannot conclude that there is a 100% increase in divorce rates in India as implied in the article!
This is just an opinion by an expert that’s based on her personal observation.
This blog post aims to collect all publicly available data about arranged marriages from around the world. We do not vouch for the accuracy of the data presented and the validity of the research studies included in this list.
Let dive right in!
Compilation of arranged marriage statistics
1. 53.25 percentage of all marriages in this world are arranged! They also concluded that the global divorce rate for arranged marriages was 6.3 percentage!
Source: Statistic Brain
2. A couple research studies from 1999 and 2006 found that between 25 and 40% of all marriages in some regions of Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are first cousin marriages. In parts of North Africa and Central Asia, consanguineous arranged marriages ranged from 65 to 80%
Sources: R. Hussain (1999), Community perceptions of reasons for preference for consanguineous marriages in Pakistan, Journal of Biosocial Science, 31, pages 449-461 and Consanguineous marriages by Brecia Young (2006)
3. The divorce rate in Islamic countries with consanguineous marriages (marriages among close or distant relatives such as cousins) such as Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt, Qatar, Jordan is between 20% and 35%.
Source: Wikipedia/United Nations
4. In non-consanguineous arranged marriages among Amish people, Hindus, and Orthodox Jews divorce rates are less than 10%
Source: Wikipedia/United Nations
5. Adding to the above data, a United Nations study found that divorce rates in cultures with high rates of arranged marriages such as Amish culture of United States (1%), Hindus of India (3%), and Ultra-Orthodox Jews of Israel (7%) were among the lowest in the world.
6. The practice of Watta Satta which involves a brother and sister marrying a sister and brother from another family constitutes 30% of all marriages in this region. That’s not all, about 75% of such marriages are consanguineous marriages.
Sources: Wikipedia; Watta Satta: Bride Exchange and Women’s Welfare in Rural Pakistan Hanan G. Jacoby and Ghazala Mansuri, World Bank Policy Research Working Paper 4126, February 2007 (Washington DC); PAKISTAN: Traditional marriages ignore HIV/AIDS threat IRIN, United Nations press service (6 December 2007); Charsley, K. (2007), Risk, trust, gender and transnational cousin marriage among British Pakistanis, Ethnic and Racial Studies, 30(6), pp 1117-1131.
7. In Japan arranged marriages are popular among women who remain unmarried into their late 20s. According to Wikipedia, about 40% of Japanese women reach the age of 29 and have remained single. This practice is called miai-kekkon and involves a matchmaker (nakōdo).
8. 45 individuals – 22 married couples and 1 widowed person, completed a questionnaire on marital satisfaction and wellness. The data from the study was compared with similar data already gathered from couples in the United States who married for love. While couples in the US placed importance on different sets of criteria that are considered important for marriage, both the data set points to similar marital satisfaction levels!
Source: Marriage satisfaction and wellness in India and the United States. 2005. Jane E. Myers, Jayamala Madathil, and Lynne R. Tingle.
9. Contradicting the above research study, yet another study came to a completely different conclusion. A community sample of 58 Indian participants living in the US (28 arranged marriages, 30 love-based marriages) completed measures of marital satisfaction, commitment, companionate love, and passionate love.
Men reported greater amounts of commitment, passionate love, and companionate love than women. Unexpectedly, no differences were found between participants in arranged and love-based marriages; high ratings of love, satisfaction, and commitment were observed in both marriage types.
The overall experiences of partners in arranged and love marriages appear to be similar, at least among Indian adults living in contemporary U.S. society.
Source: Relationship Outcomes In Indian-America Love-based and Arranged Marriage. June 2012. Pamela Regan, Saloni Lakhanpal, Carlos Anguiano, California State University
10. A study conducted among Indian Christian community found some interesting stats. Preferred method for finding a partner for one-third (35%) of the respondents is “chosen by self” (modern view), followed by arranged by parents (34%), a combination of chosen by self and approved by parents (24%), and arranged by others including friends (7%).
Leading factors of marital instability are selfish behavior/lack of self control/unsettled issues/unforgiving nature (73%), followed by sex outside marriage or sexual frustrations/sexual temptation/extra-marital relationships (67%); unrealistic expectations (65%); pornography, gambling and other addictions (60%); alcohol and substance abuse (59%); interference from in-laws (56%); financial conflicts (54%); and workaholism/over-involvement (50%).
Source: Emerging Marriage Trends in Indian Christian Community. March 2008. Thomas Idiculla, Leslie Verghese, Ancy Paulose, Cecil Mathew.
11. Around 75 percent of Indians, including 82 percent women and 68 percent men are conservative and prefer arranged marriages. Compared to the national average of 74 percent, nearly 82 percent of young people in North India prefer arranged marriages.
Source: Taj Wedding Barometer. March 2013.
12. A study involving a small sample size examined the effect of type of marriage (love and arranged), duration, and sex on love and liking in 25 love-marriage and 25 arranged marriage couples. Results indicate that couples that had love marriage showed reduced scores on love and liking with longer duration of the marriage.
Source: An exploratory study of love and liking and type of marriages. July 1982. Usha Gupta, Pushpa Singh.
13. Among women surveyed in the study, 35% of marriages were arranged by parents alone while 23% of respondents actively participating in selecting the spouse. 5% had self-arranged marriages. There is a significant growth in the percentage of women of recent generations in terms of a preference for arranged marriage with active participation.
Source: Are the Young and the Educated More Likely to Have “Love” than Arranged Marriage? A Study of Autonomy in Partner Choice in India. October 2013. Manjistha Banerji, Steven Martin, Sonalde Desai.
14. 74% of Indians believe arranged marriage is better. In Tamil Nadu, New Delhi and West Bengal, only 59% think arranged marriage is better. While in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Haryana, 88% believe that arranged marriage is better.
Source: NDTV – Ipsos Survey. September 2012.
15. A research paper on marriages in Japan examined the influence of marriage type and role specialization upon understanding in Japanese couples. Two marriage types were investigated: Arranged and Love Marriages. On a middle-class sample of 68 Japanese couples, 43 self-classified as Arranged and 25 as Love-Match, the researchers found that understanding among husband and wife weren’t better in couples with love marriages!
Source: Understanding in Japanese Marriages. September 1981. Michael Walsh and Jerome Taylor
16. In a sample of 206 Israeli couples, linear structural relationships path analysis revealed two dominant effects: the husband’s liberalism and his desire to marry.
The more liberal his attitudes and the stronger that desire, the greater the marital satisfaction of both spouses. Men were more satisfied when they themselves held liberal views and when their wives held conservative ones.
Premarital cohabitation and the pattern of spouse selection had little effect on marital satisfaction, implying that arranged marriages and autonomous choice constitute symmetric options.
Source: His and her marital satisfaction: The double standard. 1991. Rina Shachar, Department of Education, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat Gan, Israel.
17. A researcher from Israel conducted a study spanning over five years between 1979-1984 among the Sephardi Jewish community of Sydney, Australia.
The study focuses on the treatment of women in regard to the choice of their partners in marriage. While doing so, the article highlights the position of women, their treatment, rights and obligations in the traditional societies from which they emigrated.
Furthermore, the article demonstrates the vast improvement in the position of Sephardi women in the modern open system societies of the West.
Source: Love and Marriage, Past and Present: The Case of the Oriental Jews in Sydney. 1994. Naomi Gale, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
18. A research study that comprised 100 couples who had married for love and 100 couples whose marriage had been arranged by their families was conducted to determine interpersonal problems in love marriages vs arranged marriages. The age range of participants was 20 to 40 years.
The findings revealed that the couples whose marriage was arranged by their families were more domineering and vindictive, compared to couples who had married for love. However, couples in love marriages were more socially inhibited, non-assertive and intrusive when compared to arranged marriage couples.
Source: Interpersonal problems among arranged and love marriages. 2017. Nasreen Akhtar, Anum Khan, Aneeza Pervez, & Iffat Batool.
19. A study of arranged marriages in Nepal involved a survey of 527 respondents age 17 and above living in Western Chitwan Valley, Nepal.
The study found that gender, education, and spouse choice are the most important determinants of marital quality. Men, those with more schooling, and those who participated in the choice of their spouse all have higher levels of marital quality.
Caste, occupation, age at marriage, number of children, and marital duration had little to no association with marital quality.
Source: Determinants of Marital Quality in an Arranged Marriage Society. 2013. Keera Allendorf, Department of Sociology, the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign.
20. Two studies examined how love emerged in arranged marriages involving participants from 12 different countries of origin and 6 different religions.
The first study (involving 30 participants), found that self-reported love grew. A number of factors were identified that appeared to contribute to the growth of love, the most important of which was – commitment.
In the second study (involving 22 participants, 36 factors that might contribute to the growth of love were assessed, with participants indicating on a 13-point scale (from -6 to +6) whether each factor made their love grow weaker or stronger. Sacrifice and commitment emerged as the most powerful factors in strengthening love.
The fact that love can grow in some arranged marriages—and that this process can apparently be analyzed and understood scientifically—raises the possibility that practices that are used to strengthen love in arranged marriages could be introduced into autonomous marriages in Western cultures, where love normally weakens over time.
Source: How love emerges in arranged marriages: Two cross-cultural studies. Robert Epstein, Mayuri Pandit, and Mansi Thakar.
21. The International Centre for Women (ICRW) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNPFA) surveyed 9,205 men and 3,158 women for a study on masculinity and intimate partner violence.
This survey asked men and women if theirs was an arranged marriage. Between arranged marriages that the man and/ or woman consented to and arranged marriages against their will, nearly 90 per cent of marriages in these States were arranged.
Source: Arranged Marriage: How India Does It. The Hindu. Rukmini. S.
If you think there are other credible research reports that have interesting arranged marriage statistics, please share it with us at info(at)jodilogik(dot)com and we will update this article.