High Estimated Numbers of Arab Wome Unmarried
Author: Womens UN Report Network
Date: November 5, 2012
Also Via Gulf Research Center – Gulf
in the Media
HIGH ESTIMATED NUMBERS OF ARAB WOMEN
UNMARRIED + MARRIAGE DELAYED
November 2012 – DOHA: There are an estimated 25 million women aged 24 and above
in the Arab world — including the Gulf region — who remain unmarried and large
numbers of them have crossed the marriageable age of 35, says a research whose
findings were posted on a social networking site here yesterday.
Egypt, the country with the largest population in Arab world, alone accounts
for more than one-third (nine million) of the total number of spinsters in Arab
world, followed by Algeria (four million), Iraq (three million) and Yemen (two
Countries like Sudan, Morocco, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia have 1.5 million
spinsters each of marriageable age, according to the study conducted in 14 Arab
countries in 2010 by ‘Alrai’ newspaper of Kuwait, the social networking site
said. These are just rough estimates and not actual figures.
As for other countries, Syria and Lebanon have a share of 700,000 and
450,000 each in the total spinster population.
Studies conducted in Jordan show that the average marriageable age of women
has risen up to 30 while the average is 32 in the case of men.
Saudi Arabia tops the GCC states in terms of the number of women aged 24 and
above who are unmarried. Next is the UAE where spinsters (estimated at a
staggering 700,000) account for nearly 70 percent of the overall local (citizens)
Bahrain with a figure of 450,000 ranks next followed by Kuwait (70,000) and
Qatar (30,000). Statistics for Oman were not available but rough estimates
suggest the ratio of women in marriageable age might not be less than 10 percent
of the country’s female population.
has taken some steps to rectify the situation and narrow the gap with the
parliament recommending that state marriage loans worth 6,000 dinars (QR60,000)
be given away to those eligible.
Studies suggest that in Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait and the UAE the ratio of
women who remain unmarried is 35 percent of the total female population in
these countries. This ratio in Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Libya has declined to 30
percent, while in the case of Sudan and Somalia it has come down to 20 percent.
In Qatar, some 30 percent of women who are aged 34 and above remain unmarried.
The research paper quotes a UAE journalist, Ayesha Reema, as telling Sharjah
Radio recently that there were an estimated 4.5 million women of marriageable
age in the GCC region whose marriages were being delayed. The research said
given the present situation the number of spinsters in Saudi could soar to four
million over the next five years. Citing reasons for delayed marriages and the
rising size of the population of spinsters in the Arab world, the research said
women outnumbering men, rising jobless rate, poverty and high costs of marriage
were largely to blame for the social malaise.
As for the cash-rich GCC region, high rate of divorce and escalating wedding
costs are blamed for the swelling numbers of unmarried women. The research
calls on the governments and the charities to play an active role to help
remove the imbalance.
The research has evoked reactions from citizens on local social networking
sites and according to one commentator, the problem with Qatari families is
that they don’t allow their male or female members to marry even in other GCC
Another commentator said that it is not only Qatari women whose marriages
are delayed but Qatari men are also facing similar woes.
Yet another commentator wrote that the divorce rate in Qatar was very high
which meant that marriages were not stable.