Over 40% of Chareidim Marry Before Age 21, Numbers Show

Boys dance at a wedding in Bnei Brak. (Yaakov Naumi/Flash90)

There were over 50,000 weddings performed in Israel in 2018, the Central Bureau of Statistics reported Wednesday. Ahead of Tu B’Av, the CBS presented statistics on marriage, divorce, and singlehood among all Israelis.

The large majority of “marrying age” Israelis are not part of that latter category. Among all Israelis age 20 and older, 78% were married or had been married at least once, while 22% were single. Among those who defined themselves as secular, 25% of 20 year olds and older had never been married, compared to just 12% among chareidim. 43% of that latter group married before age 21, compared to 17% of secular Israelis. Among 20% of the secular, the age for their first-time marriage was age 30 or older.

There were more singles among younger Israelis; 61.8% of males age 25 through 29 had never been married, while among females that figure was 46.5%. The rate of singlehood in chareidi towns was much smaller; for example, in Modi’in Ilit, only 5.8% of men 25-29 and 2.1% of women had never been married. In Bnei Brak, the figures were 19.1% for men and 13.5% for women. In Tel Aviv, 84.6% of 25-29 year old males and 74% of women of that age had never been married.

All weddings in Israel are conducted by licensed religious functionaries. Among Jews, there were 35,810 registered marriages in 2018, while 12,324 Muslim couples were wed. The average age for all grooms was 27.4; for brides it was 25. In 68% of marriages among Jews and 88% among Muslims, the groom was older than the bride, although among Jews, it was not rare for a bride to be older than a groom, as was the case in 15% of marriages. 17% of Jewish and 7% of Muslim brides and grooms married spouses of the same age. 1,002 of the weddings were among Druze couples, and 885 among Christians.