Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat- A new study conducted by the Saudi ministry of planning has stated that there are roughly 33 divorces daily in the Kingdom, reaching a total number of approximately 12,192 divorces per year. In the city of Riyadh alone, 3000 out the total 8500 married women had been divorced.
The study stated that the percentage of divorce in the kingdom has risen by 20% over previous years and that 65% of arranged marriages end in divorce. Tribunal records and registries have reported that the number of marriages is 70, 000 whereas the cases of divorce was 13,000.
The study also confirmed that the number of unmarried older women has risen in Saudi society. It reported that the number of unmarried girls at the suitable age for marriage has reached approximately one and a half million, with Mecca accounting for the highest number from this category. The approximate statistics are as follows: In Mecca there are 400,000 unmarried women, Riyadh has just over 300,000 unmarried women, the Eastern region”s number of unmarried women is roughly 200,000, the region of Asir holds over 100,000, followed by the holy city of Medina with less than 100,000 unmarried women. In Gazan there are less than 85,000 unmarried women, in Al Qaseem there are less than 75,000, the region of Al Jawf has 5219 unmarried women, Ha”il has 45,000 unmarried women, Tabuk holds 37,000 unmarried women and finally the northern region is home to a total of 22,000 unmarried women.
The study mentioned that the total number of married women in Saudi Arabia is approximately two and a half million out of a total of five and a half million women. It also stated that on average, there are between 10 and 15 marriages a month of Saudi men to Indonesian women, a rate that sometimes reaches 25 per month.
The phenomenon of the number of older unmarried women in Saudi community is continuously increasing. This may be due to the increasing dowry rates in some Saudi areas as well as the incapability of some young men to get married due to their financial status. This has driven some families and tribes to rearrange the rate of dowries.
Mohamed Al Amer, a resident of one of these regions said that, "We will have a meeting this summer and set the rate of dowries so that we can reduce the pressure that the youth face. We will seek to help youngsters get married without having to borrow money."
He added, "We must be firm regarding this issue. At the moment young men are reluctant to marry and in turn, the number of older unmarried women is rising." He continues, "In some tribes, dowries reach 100,000 Saudi Riyals or more. This is considered to be a large amount of money especially during a time in which work opportunities are decreasing."