This study confirms that marriage is almost universal among females in Bangladesh and there are very poor numbers of women are interested without having any marriage. In Bangladesh the legal age of marriage is 18 years for the women. But early female marriage is customary in Bangladesh. Most female have been married before age 20. About 95 percent of marriages in Bangladesh are teenage or adolescent marriages. Almost 100 percent getting married by the time they reach age 30. This situation proves that early marriage is very frequent in Bangladesh. Legislation on age of marriage, therefore, seems to be ineffective in delaying childhood marriage in Bangladesh. It is iron of faith that large majorities of the rural community in Bangladesh are ignorant about the legal age for marriage and are even less concerned about the negative social and health consequences of adolescent marriage. The TFR equals on average 7.82 births per women in the absences of contraception, and fertility declines at a rate of approximately 1.0 births per women for each 9% increment in the contraceptive prevalence rate. Under such relationship between TFR and CPR, the replacement fertility requires a prevalence level of fertility can be achieved around the year 2014. The regression equation of TFR on CPR suggest that a TFR of 2.5 births per women can be achieved by the year 2015 if the level of CPR is raised to 47% and that at the end of this century a targeted fertility level of 2.0 per women if the level of contraception is raised to 62%.
Key words: Age, marriage, women, fertility, birth rate, contraception.
In Bangladesh there was long been strong social pressure for the preservation of virginity until marriage. Sex outside marriage occurs only seldom, since pre-marital sex was looked down upon harshly in Bangladeshi society (Maloney and others, 1981). Marriage marks the beginning of the period of potential childbearing and therefore was considered the prime determinants of fertility in the face of the country of the relatively low contraceptive use rate. Among females almost 95 percent of marriage takes place before the end of their second decade of life. This densely populated country of 136.7 million people (SVRS, 2004) is also characterized by a high population growth rate (1.42 % annually: BBS, 2004). Traditionally young age at marriage and early childbearing has been encouraged in Bangladesh. According to Aziz and Maloney (1985) Bangladeshi Children, especially in rural areas, are socialized to assume their respective male and female roles well before puberty. This phenomenon has been observed more strictly among girls than boys, because of the impact of girls’ behavior during adolescence both on their own reputation and that of their family. Before the end of childhood, a girl is expected to begin learning proper decorum for females so that she will be able to a play the part well once puberty begins. If the marriage of a pubescent girl is delayed her parents and sometimes the girl herself are made to feel guilty. Sometimes neighbors and even relatives criticize parents if they have not married off their daughters soon after the onset of menarche. In such a situation, parents of poor socio-economic standing may begin to think of their daughter as a burden. The younger females are also in higher demand than older females as potential brides and they require fewer dowries as well. Despite such pressures there has been a growing concern in recent years that female children should not be married too young (Islam and others, 1795). A government order in 1976, the minimum legal age of marriage was fixed at 18 and 21 years for females and males, respectively.