Monday, July 22, 2013

Tu b'Av

Yael Israeli

This month we celebrate the 15th of Av (Tu b'Av), known in Israel today as "the holiday of love". This festival, mentioned already in the Mishna and Talmud, is traditionally the day when the women of Israel went seeking for a partner. Today in Israel it has become a Hebrew version of Valentine's day.

In 2010, 444,500 men and women aged 20 and up lived in Jerusalem. Most 20+ year old Jerusalemites (63%) are married, 23% are unmarried, and only 8% are divorced. The percentage of single men in the city stands at 27%, and is higher than the percentage of single women, at 20%. The widowed women's percentage, however, is much higher (9%) than that the number of widowed men (2%). 

Marital status changes with age. Between the ages of 20-24 there is a high percentage of singles (66%), and an acute difference between men and women. 78% of the men between these ages are single, compared to only 55% of the women. As age increases, the number of married people rises, and differences between men and women shrink. Between 30-34, only 24% of  men, and 20% of women are still single. Israel shows a picture close to that of Jerusalem, with 23% of 20+ year olds unmarried, 62% married, and 8% divorced. Among 20-24 year olds in Israel, there is a higher percentage (80%) of unmarried people.

In Tel Aviv, however, things are quite different. In 2010, 319,300 people aged 20+ lived in the city, comprising almost 80% of its population. 50% of these 20+ year olds were not married (37% single, 11% divorced, and 7% widowed). Among the age group of 20-24 the percentage of singles is very high: 92% (87% among women and 96% among men). Among 30-34 year olds the percentage of singles was also high, standing at 50%.

The average marriage age in Israel is rising from year to year. In 1970 the average marriage age of Jewish women was 21.8 while in 2010 it rose to 25.7. The average for men did not increase drastically throughout these years and went up from 25 to 27.8.

The average gap between a Jewish bride and groom was 2.1 years, in comparison to 5 years in all other religions.

So, what is better – being married or single or divorced? Are married people really more satisfied than others?

95% of married residents in Jerusalem noted they are satisfied with their lives compared with only 78% of the divorced and 89% of the singles. In contrast, in Tel-Aviv a similar percentage of married and single residents noted that they are satisfied with their lives, but married people are a slightly more satisfied (88% and 85% respectively). In Israel, It seems the situation is pretty much the same – the married ones are most satisfied, followed by the singles and lastly the divorced (91%, 88% and 73% respectively).

Global research has proven that marriage increases satisfaction in life, so go ahead, take advantage of this Tu b'Av and find yourself a partner, preferably in Jerusalem!