It's better to get married between the ages of 23 and 27, the survey shows. The survey was made by scientists of the University of Texas headed by sociology professor Norval Glenn for the National Fatherhood Initiative, which advocates marriage and family values.
The participants were asked a variety of questions about marriage and divorce, including attitudes toward cohabitation and raising children. 88 percent of respondents said marriage should be a lifelong commitment.
To determine marital satisfaction and success, Glenn says, the answers to a series of questions were calculated according to a statistical index, including adjustments for the length of marriages as well as the age at first marriage.
Andrew Cherlin, a professor of sociology and public policy at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, says marrying too young or too old carries a greater risk of divorce. But now, "as people wait longer and longer to marry, the definition of what's too old keeps changing."
Other researchers worry that the findings, based on a 15-minute national telephone survey of 1,503 men and women ages 18 and older in late 2003 and early 2004, may alarm those unattached and marriage-minded.
Despite the fact that It's better to get married between the ages of 23 and 27, Prof Mirowsky, from the University of Texas says the ideal age for a woman to have her first baby is 34.
While women in their early 20s are more fertile and "biologically fit", older mothers tend to be more mature and engage in less risky behaviour, having become more settled educationally, financially and emotionally, Prof Mirowsky said. I.L.