Groom usually older than bride

© CBS / Nikki van Toorn
Out of the 63 thousand couples who entered marriage in 2017, 7 out of 10 had a male half who was older than the female half. Although age disparities were usually small, over 2 thousand new couples included a groom who was at least 15 years older than the bride. The age gap in reverse - the bride at least 15 years the groom’s senior - is a rare phenomenon. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports this on Valentine’s Day today, in response to media enquiries.

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Age disparity at time of marriage, 2017
 2017 (%)
No age gap9.9
Man older<\b>
1 to 4 years41.1
5 to 9 years20.7
10 to 14 years6
15 to 19 years2
20 years or more1.4
Woman older<\b>
1 to 4 years14.3
5 to 9 years3.5
10 to 14 years0.8
15 to 19 years0.2
20 years or more0.1

The female half was older in nearly 2 out of 10 unions, while in 1 out of 10 unions, both sides were the same age (same year of birth). Most couples - 41 percent -  included a groom who was one to five years older than his bride, while 2 out of 10 grooms were five to ten years senior. In 14 percent of marriages, the bride was one to five years older than her groom. These percentage shares have barely changed over the past two decades.

Few women married to a much younger man

In 2017, altogether 61 couples registered marriage with the bride at least twenty years older than the groom. In addition, 121 unions were registered with the bride 15 to 20 years older than the groom. There is a much higher prevalence of the reverse: in 2017, 909 weddings took place with a groom at least 20 years his bride’s senior and 1,262 marriages with a groom who was 15 to 20 years older.
The partner age gap was larger on average among couples with at least one partner aged 50 or older, compared to marrying couples in general. There were 7.3 thousand brides aged 50 or older, including 120 (1.6 percent) who were at least 15 years their husband’s senior, while 12 percent of the 10.4 thousand grooms in the same age group married a woman at least 15 years younger than them.

Age disparity at time of marriage, 2017
 All marriages (%)Man over 50 (%)Woman over 50 (%)
No age gap9.96.68.5
Man older<\b>
1 to 4 years41.127.328.4
5 to 9 years20.722.215.3
10 to 14 years611.24.7
15 to 19 years26.21.4
20 years or more1.46.20.8
Woman older<\b>
1 to 4 years14.314.823.5
5 to 9 years3.54.611.7
10 to 14 years0.80.93.6
15 to 19 years0.20.21.2
20 years or more0.10.10.8

Greater age disparities in male same-sex marriages

Age gaps are somewhat more common in same-sex marriages compared to marriages between members of the opposite sex. The gap is predominantly larger among male same-sex couples, with 7 percent demonstrating an age disparity of 15 to 20 years and 6 percent a difference of 20 years or more. More than one-quarter of male couples demonstrate an age gap of ten years or more. Although the number of same-sex marriages is much smaller than opposite-sex marriages, the percentage shares of age gaps remain virtually the same from year to year. In 2017, there were altogether 620 same-sex marriages between two men and 755 between two women.

Age disparity at time of marriage, 2017
 Man-woman (%)Two women (%)Two men (%)
No age gap9.99.16.9
1 to 4 years55.451.540
5 to 9 years24.125.227.3
10 to 14 years6.99.113.1
15 to 19 years2.236.8
20 years and over1.526