Similar to filling the pages of your passport with custom stamps – becoming dependent on Facebook is one of the many consequences of living abroad. (Ha, well at least that’s true in my case 🙂 )
I rely on the popular social networking site for everything from: messaging loved ones – to checking out photos of my friends’ weekend adventures – to advertising this blog 😉 – to keeping up with popular trends from back at home.
….speaking of trends…..
Thanks to the inside information provided by the ever loyal Facebook, I have picked up on two particular trends currently blazing through the lives of my peers: engagement and marriage.
The evidence from the tagged photos and updated relationship statuses is clear – quite a few people my age are taking the plunge and tying the knot.
(My own sister is even included in that list – Congratulations again Erin and David!)
After catching on to the new tenancy – I did a little research and confirmed my hunch. According to the 2009 US Census Bureau, the average age that a woman marries for the first time (<— kinda sad that they had to include that part) is 26.5 years old.
The state with the highest median age is Rhode Island at 29 years old and the state with the lowest median age is Idaho with 23.1.
No wonder I’m suddenly bombarded with the realization that more and more of my friends and acquaintances are getting ready to say “I do”! – we are all smack dab in the middle of the “prime marrying age” according to American standards.
Therefore, if many of my friends from home are thinking about getting married – that must mean that, by comparison, the majority of Diego’s (my boyfriend 3 years my senior) Spanish amigos are happily hitched with babies on the way,…. right?
Turns out, Diego (currently 27) has only one acquaintance that is already married.
Why, then, do Spanish women (on average) wait an extra 6 years longer to get married compared to American women?
While there are many cultural factors at play that dictate the Spaniards’ decision to not rush into marriage, based on what I have observed during the time I’ve spend here, I tend to agree with the argument presented by the article titled: La edad del matrimonio en España se retrasa tres años de media (The average age of matrimony in Spain is extended by 3 years).
To sum it up, the article states that both men and women of Spain are waiting longer and longer to get married due to the monetary consequences of the global economic crisis. (Spain was hit particularly hard by the crisis – unemployment here hovers around 20%)
Since Spanish people are now, on average, earning less money than they were 5 or 6 years ago, it is taking longer for them to feel “financially stable enough” to decide to get married.
On a related note, because jobs are pretty difficult to come by for young people, many Spanish young adults are forced to live longer with their parents than their North American peers. It’s not uncommon here in Spain for someone aged 26-30 to still be living at home with mamá y papá. All those factors combined together help make for the delayed (relativity speaking) age of matrimony in Spain.
What you do you think about the fact that we (in general) get married earlier than Spanish people?
Does there exist an “ideal” age to get engaged/married?