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Thu 30 Jul 2009 12:04 PM

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Unemployment, high dowries force Saudis to defer marriage

Fewer Saudis are marrying despite gov't, local charities' effort to help out.

Dowries of as much as SAR120,000 ($32,000), high unemployment and the rising cost of housing are making young Saudis more reluctant to get married.

Soaring unemployment and high dowries means fewer people in the Kingdom are tying the knot, despite efforts by the government and local charities to make it more affordable.

Young Saudis interviewed by daily Al Riyadh said rising house prices were exacerbating the situation, while others said the practice of arranged marriages made them more reluctant to get married.

One interviewee said prospective brides often had unrealistic wedding expectations and would only agree to get married in one of the country’s most expensive hotels.

According to a demographic survey conducted in 2007, one in sixteen Saudi women is classified as a spinster.

A majority of women, 97.4 percent, marry below the age of 30.

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