Romanian women, first to marry in the EU
Romania is going against the main ‘progressive’ European trends concerning marriage, divorce and raising a family, and maintaining a more ‘traditional’ approach.
Romania has the 5th highest marriage rate in the EU and Romanian women get married at a younger age than all of their European counterparts, according to a study by the European statistics office Eurostat. The figures also show that Romanian women are younger when they give birth to their first child and that they are less likely to have a child outside of marriage.
According to this study, marriage rates have been decreasing across the EU over the past decade. While this also happened in Romania family continues to be an essential element in the life of Romanians, with official marriage still being a way to start a family.
Throughout the EU, there are 4.2 marriages per 1,000 people while Romania’s figure stands at 5.2, according to the latest available data, which date from 2011. The statistics also show that 61.1% of Romanian’s list ‘married’ as their marital status, a whole 5.8% higher than the EU average.
Furthermore, divorce rates are also low in Romania when compared to the rest of the EU. Divorce rates across Europe went up to 2 divorces per 1000 people whereas in Romania the figure is only 1.4.
The study also highlights two other trends that are currently taking place across Europe. Firstly, there has been a rise, mainly amongst young people, of ‘consensual unions’. This involves a couple living together without being formally married. Such a rise has not taken place in Romania. The percentage of Romanians, aged 20 and over, living in a consensual union is half that of the EU average.
Secondly, the report shows that the mean age at the time of a person’s first marriage is increasing throughout the EU with many men and women now getting married in their 30’s. The trend is less visible in Romania, which still has the lowest marriage age for women at 26.3 years of age and one of the lowest mean marriage ages for men at 29.7 years.
The project also looked at birth rates in the European Union. Romania’s fertility rate, standing at 1.4, is 0.2 lower than the EU average, despite the fact that Romanian women are, on average, 2.9 years younger (than the European average) when they give birth to their first child. Romanian women are also 9.5% less likely, when compared with the European average, to give birth to a child outside of marriage even though the numbers are rising across the EU.
Through this study, Eurostat aims to document the changing attitudes towards marriage and having children within the EU. As the statistics show, Romania has managed to avoid any serious change but this does not accurately reflect the EU as a whole. Indeed, the pace of change is far more noticeable in several countries, such as the Nordic countries and France.
The change appears to be split between the more ‘progressive’ nations that have developed a tolerance for divorce and embraced unions outside of marriage and more religiously conservative countries, such as Romania, where the notion of marriage is still integral to having a family.
The full study is available here.
by Dale Harris, editorial intern