Mon, May 22, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Taipei has oldest average marrying ages, report says


A recent report by the Ministry of the Interior (MOI) found that Taipei City had the nation's highest average marrying ages in the country last year, with the city's men tying the knot at an average of 34.4 years old and women at 30.4.

The average age for men to get married last year was 32.5 years old while for women, it was 28.5, the report said.

In cities such as Taipei, Keelung, and Kaohsiung, the marriage age average was higher than the national average, with Taipei at the top of the list.

For Keelung City, which ranked second, the average age for men was 33.9 years old and for women, 29.3.

The county with the lowest average marriage age was Changhua County, with men getting hitched at the age of 30.4 and women at a lower 26.9, the report said.

A total of 142,000 couples were married last year, a 9.9 percent rise from two years ago.

First-time marriages also increased last year by 11.7 percent from the year before, and second marriages decreased by a small margin of 0.1 percent, according to the report.

Officials said the sharp increase in first-time marriages was largely due to the marriage rate being at an all-time low in 2004 since that was a ku luan nian or "lonely phoenix year."

The lunar calendar has 12 months, but every second or third year has a "leap month" which can come after any regular month. When such leap months appear, the year is called a "lonely phoenix year" and marriage is considered a taboo. According to popular superstition, those who get married during such years will be "lonely birds" that will lose their partners.

Many people avoid weddings during such years, and therefore the year after a lonely phoenix year will show a sudden spike in marriages, officials said.

Tying the knot

* Taipei City's men got married at an average age of 34.4 years old, the highest in the nation.

* Taipei City's women got married at an average age of 30.4.

* The national average marrying ages were 32.5 years old for men and 28.5 years old for women.

* 142,000 couples were married last year.

Of all the marriages last year, 17.3 percent included foreign spouses, the report said.

Of all the brides, those from Southeast Asia had the youngest average marrying age, at 24.9 years old.

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