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East Europe and Former USSR

Marital Status Contrasts At Old Ages

While widowhood is the normal marital status for women at advanced ages, most of the fewer surviving men spend most of their later years married. This standard pattern appeared throughout eastern Europe and the former Soviet republics.

For example, in Hungary at the end of the century, three-fourths of all men in their seventies remained married. A majority (52 percent) of men were married even after age eighty. In the oldest country in the region (Bulgaria) and in the young Asian republics of Tajikistan and Turkmenistan, the proportions of men married at these ages were about the same as in Hungary.

By contrast, in Hungary only one-fourth of women in their seventies remained married. Less than one woman out of ten remained married after age eighty. Just as for men, the percentage of women married at old age were about the same in the young Asian republics as in old eastern Europe.

Even though the shares of women married or widowed by age were about the same across all Figure 1 SOURCE: Author of these very diverse countries, population aging magnified the "widow problem" in older countries. For example, in younger Kazakhstan, percentages unmarried translated into slightly more than half a million unmarried women over age sixty-five, or about one out of every fourteen women in the total female population. In older Poland, similar percentages of unmarried women translated into almost two million unmarried women over age sixty-five, or about one out of every ten women in the total female population.

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Medicine EncyclopediaAging Healthy - Part 2East Europe and Former USSR - Population Aging And The Birth Rate, Sex Ratio Contrasts In Old Age, Marital Status Contrasts At Old Ages