A new report by the Higher Institute of Planning presented surprising data on the number of single women in Morocco, revealing important changes in the context of the many changes that have taken place in the Moroccan family system in recent years. Experts link the causes of this phenomenon, on the one hand, to the flight of women from caring for men and, on the other, to the rising costs of marriage and unemployment. As the number of single people increases, the birth rate decreases, which affects the population pyramid.
Figures published by Moroccan official institutions show that the proportion of single women among women is high, which has affected the country's fertility rate. In the annual report "Moroccan Women in 2023", presented on the occasion of National Women's Day, the delegation found that the rate of singlehood among women in their 50s has progressively increased from 6.7% in 2010 to 9.6 in 2014. In addition, it found that in 2004 the rate of single women in urban areas (10.9%) was higher than the rate of single women in rural areas (7%).
Poverty and vulnerability are factors that delay marriage. The well-known phenomenon of loneliness in Morocco is governed by several factors, the first of which is economic. This is because large groups of unemployed young people are unable to cope with the burdens of daily life, which prevents people from achieving their financial goals. Fertility rates and marital conditions increased after a slight decline two years ago, with 40.7% still unmarried in 2022, and the delegation stated that Morocco's transition from early to late marriage has occurred in greater numbers in urban and rural areas.
To tackle the problem, the Moroccan government is working with family experts such as Mohamed Momen, a sociologist at the Royal Institute for Labour Training, who confirmed that some parents, who fear that their daughters will fall into the trap of singlehood, take every opportunity to marry them off at an early age. Among the main solutions proposed by the Alawi executive is to allocate family budgets to meet the family needs of young couples.
More than 60% of Moroccan women aged 20-24 are single, and more than 28% of Moroccan women aged 30-34. According to the report, the number of unmarried women in Morocco exceeds 8 million, which is equivalent to 60% of women with the minimum age for marriage set at 18 by the Moroccan legislature. The report found that the number of single women in Morocco increased by about 4.6%, while the proportion of single men increased by 2.6%.
Young people refuse to marry because of the high cost of living and unemployment. Marriage and wedding traditions can be a burden for young Moroccans who want to get married, and this is where the idea of community group weddings was born. Celibacy is considered a serious social problem that threatens Moroccan society. For this problem is not only the cause of the postponement of the marriage age, but also of the destruction of Moroccan moral values.
After reaching an all-time high of 7 children per woman in 1960, the current number of children per woman has fallen to 2.38. Reports suggest that the birth rate has peaked. In Morocco in the 1960s, the socio-cultural situation was then favourable. Women married at an early age (average age 17) and contraceptive rates were low, with only 8% of the population having access to contraceptives.
To encourage young people to marry, women of all ages and backgrounds organised meetings at the offices of the International Marriage Agency in Rabat. The agency, which worked in collaboration with nearly 100 similar organisations in Western countries, was set up 10 years ago to help find partners for Moroccan women who wanted to marry foreigners.
Marriage and wedding traditions can be a burden for young Moroccans who want to get married, and this is where the idea of community group weddings was born. Every year, when a wedding organised by the association approaches, a request for marriage is received through a dossier submitted to the association and the marital status of the newlyweds is shown.
Arguing that money and efforts are needed at all levels to end the fear of young marriages, the Karama community in Tangier is trying to encourage young people to get married in order to discourage celibacy and delaying marriage. The idea of creating this service related to the development of the situation of women in the community arose from their reluctance to marry.