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Percentage of girl marriages drops — survey

By Khetam Malkawi - Feb 25,2014 - Last updated at Feb 25,2014

AMMAN — The rate of girl marriages in Jordan dropped from 10.6 per cent in 1990 to 6.3 per cent in 2012, according to an official study.

The 2012 Jordan Population and Family Health Survey also showed that the percentage of women aged between 15 and 49 that had ever been married decreased from 59 per cent to 57 per cent between 2009 and 2012. 

An amendment to the Personal Status Law in 2002 changed the legal age of marriage from 15 to 18 for both boys and girls, but the legislation left room for exceptions for those aged between 15 and 18 if the judge deems it would benefit both spouses.

“Marriage is nearly universal in Jordan, with only 8 per cent of women not married by the end of their reproductive age in 2012,” said the survey, which was conducted by the Department of Statistics (DoS) and released earlier this year.

It added that 5 per cent of currently married women are in a polygynous union, with older women more likely to be in a polygynous union. 

According to the DoS report, 43 per cent of the survey sample of 19,891 women aged between 15 and 49 had never married, 54 per cent were married when the study was conducted in 2012, while the remaining 3 per cent were divorced, separated, or widowed.

“The proportion of women who are currently married increases steadily from 6 per cent among women aged 15 to 19 to 83 per cent among those aged 35 to 39, then to 85 per cent in the 40-44 age bracket and back to 83 per cent among women aged 45-49,” the survey indicated.

“As expected, the proportion of widows increases with age, reaching 5 per cent among women aged 45-49, while less than 2 per cent of women in Jordan are divorced,” it added.

Over a period of 12 years, between 1990 and 2002, the percentage of ever-married women aged 15-49 decreased from 56 to 54 per cent, according to the survey.

However, between 2002 and 2007, the percentage of ever-married women increased from 54 to 57 per cent. 

“This increase was mainly concentrated among young women in the 20-29 age group,” the DoS report said.

The percentage of ever-married women then decreased from 59 to 57 per cent between 2009 and 2012.

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