Statistician Dr. Charlie Hall's analysis of the marital age gap data

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  • #613949
    Joseph
    Participant

    There’s been enormous debate both here and elsewhere over the past number of years regarding the soundness of the claim advanced by NASI that there are more eligible bachelorettes than bachelors in the shidduch pool as a direct result of the tendency for young men to marry younger women. This, the argument goes, results in an imbalance where there always remains a certain percentage of young women who will never have the prospect of getting married as all the eligible young men have already married someone else. The proposed solution has been to strongly encourage shidduchim between grooms and brides of generally the same age thus reducing the incidents of grooms being three or more years older than his bride.

    Dr. Charlie Hall Ph.D, a noted statistician in the academic world of higher education and resident commentator on these hollowed pages, has graciously offered his services in analyzing the relevent data, to the extent it exists, and offering his opinion on the accuracy of this claim.

    Some of the more hotly debated questions on this topic have been:

    A. Assuming an approximate equal number of births in each gender (and assuming a no greater male violence-based death rate prior to marriageable age in the Orthodox Jewish community), as a result of this “age gap” between grooms and brides is it even statistically possible for there to be notably more girls than boys in the shidduch pool resulting in, effectively, that even if every boy got married there will still be girls left over unable to get married?

    B. What data would be required to analyze if this assumed scenario is indeed at fault in the Orthodox community? Does this data currently exist? How can this data feasibly and economically be collected?

    C. In the absence of the above real data, can it be estimated if this is likely a serious issue in the shidduch scene? If so, is this age gap the likely cause of there many Orthodox women being unable to get married whereas men don’t have this problem?

    D. Is it even true that there currently are more (Orthodox) older single women than older single men?

    E. Is the above proposed solution (encouraging same age marriages) effective or most effective in resolving this concern?

    F. If the age gap is not at fault for there being more unmarried young women than young men in the Orthodox community, what else likely accounts for this disparity?

    Dr. Hall’s offer:

    http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/coffeeroom/topic/simchas-torah-and-women/page/3#post-539834

    #1040711
    charliehall
    Participant

    I’m happy to try to help out here, but I must say that I am a statistician not a demographer, so while I am an expert at analyzing data, I am not an expert at modeling demography. Can someone direct me to some links that have data that would address some of these issues? Thanks!

    #1040712
    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    Data? Oh no. Shidduch crisis is about people, not data!

    #1040713
    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    By which I mean, thank you Dr. Hall for confirming that there is no statistics without data.

    #1040714
    Joseph
    Participant

    The following three links below will allow you to access the Avi Chai Foundation studies by Dr. Marvin Schick that NASI used to estimate an annual 3.5%(?) annual American Orthodox Jewish population growth to derive a conclusion that the estimated average age gap between Chasanim and Kallahs is causing many woman to figuratively be left at the altar without any more available single men in an appropriate age:

    1. Census of Jewish Day Schools, 1998-99

    2. Census of Jewish Day Schools, 2003-04

    3. Census of Jewish Day Schools, 2008-09

    The first two is what NASI used for their calculations while the last one was published afterwards.

    Note: I am not vouching for the accuracy of their methodology used to draw their conclusions from the above studies.

    #1040715
    charliehall
    Participant

    I did look again at the three census reports; I was familiar with them but had not looked at them since the most recent one came out five years ago. I could not find anything in any of the reports that gave a male/female breakdown of enrollment. Did I miss something? Without that, I don’t see how one can draw any conclusions from them. (There are a few other issues, but that is the biggest one.)

    #1040716
    Joseph
    Participant

    The census’ have tables listing enrollment numbers for children in Jewish schools. Is that what you’re looking for? That’s what NASI used (comparing one census from the earlier one) to determine what the population growth rate is for the Orthodox community. Male/Female breakdown shouldn’t be necessary to determine the growth rate.

    Once the growth rate is determined, coupled with the projected average age gap between grooms and brides, they projected a percent of women who will be unable to marry.

    #1040717
    CRuzer
    Member

    charliehall,

    Why do you need the male/female breakdown? Just assume it’s 50/50. The point is that the later the year, the more kids.

    #1040718
    Joseph
    Participant

    According to the claim, even with a 50/50 gender ratio the population growth + age gap results in a disparity. I think the larger question is whether they correctly estimated the actual rate of the population growth. The census’ might not be sufficiently comprehensive to make an assumption on this.

    #1040719
    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    Why do you need the male/female breakdown? Just assume it’s 50/50. The point is that the later the year, the more kids.

    Great idea!

    Or, or, just assume there are twice as many boys as girls! And just drop a footnote saying you made some reasonable assumptions.

    #1040720
    charliehall
    Participant

    I would hesitate to assume that the male/female ration is 50/50 without some real data, and I would also hesitate to assume that the decline in school enrollment with increasing age is entirely due to an increasing population without real data regarding dropout, aliyah, etc., as there are other reasons why the population might be decreasing as a function of age.

    #1040721
    yehudayona
    Participant

    Also, in some communities, there is no local Jewish school option beyond elementary school.

    #1040722
    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    Or, or, just assume there are twice as many boys as girls!

    And join Avi Weiss and Zev Farber as minim who don’t believe Chaza”l!

    (Actually, not a great idea, because the more people who self identify as women, the worse the disparity becomes.)

    #1040723
    CRuzer
    Member

    PBA… what? The global average is about 50/50 (actually, 107 boys to every 100 girls). Why is it so unreasonable to assume it’s around the same for Jews?

    #1040724
    charliehall
    Participant

    ‘And join Avi Weiss and Zev Farber as minim who don’t believe Chaza”l!’

    AFAIK I have never met Rabbi Farber, but Rabbi Avi Weiss professes belief in Torah Mi Sinai and the authority of Chazal to interpret it.

    #1040725
    frumnotyeshivish
    Participant

    CRuzer: it is a reasonable assumption. What it is not is definitive. The more assumptions that are made, the less real meaning of any findings based on those assumptions.

    Obviously, if there is no such data, it is reasonable to make assumptions. However, if people want a statistical study to be taken seriously (i.e. to change behaviors and/or raise the “crisis” alert) they should make the effort to obtain real numbers.

    #1040726
    nishtdayngesheft
    Participant

    Rabbi Avi Weiss professes belief in Torah Mi Sinai and the authority of Chazal to interpret it.

    And now we all know where the term professes comes from. The state things which are clearly and evidentially completely false.

    Thanks for the explanation Professor Hall.

    #1040727
    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    And his authority to overrule chazal. Don’t forget that part.

    #1040728
    Sam2
    Participant

    Avi Weiss, for whatever issues he does have, does not believe he can overrule Chazal. We have to be fair and honest when criticizing.

    #1040729
    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    Sam, he believes he can overrule them by claiming their values were inspired by the times they lived in. That’s practically the theme of OO, and he’s at the very least guilty by association (more than association, but that’s the term).

    It was once nogeia to me to prove he’s an apikores, and I did find some statements of his which I think were over the line, but I don’t remember where.

    I don’t think his point is to be an apikores, though, I think his main focus is to garner attention. It’s just not a big deal to him if hashkafos get messed up along the way.

    #1040730
    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    Back to the shidduch crisis. Pogrow had a two page article in this week’s mishpacha. I’m sure he used at least part of that space to tell us what he’d based his conclusions on.

    No, he didn’t.

    #1040731
    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    Well, no, but the magazine said how to contact him, so I’m curious to know how he’ll respond to you.

    Also, the thrust of his article was that the changes he wishes implemented all will not have a negative impact on non shidduch related issues, rather, a positive one. If that is the case, the data is superfluous.

    I will say, though, that the glaring omission is dealing with the fact that getting married a year earlier might mean a year less learning. There are answers, and I think he hints to one, but it needs to be part of the discussion.

    #1040733
    Joseph
    Participant

    The newest census from Avi Chai, 2013-14, was released today and is available on their website.

    #1040734
    TRUEBT
    Participant

    Thanks for pointing it out, Lior!

    It says that enrollment in Chasidic day schools is up 110% (=more than doubled) in the past 15 years since the first survey was taken. But by the Chasidim, the Shidduch crisis is in REVERSE. There are more men than women. This undermines the entire theory that the growth of day school enrollment caused the shidduch crisis.

    The girls get married at a younger age than the boys by the Chasidim, but it hasn’t caused a shortage of men.

    Charliehall – please comment.

    #1040735
    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    The girls get married at a younger age than the boys by the Chasidim

    If so, barely.

    #1040736
    👑RebYidd23
    Participant

    Sometimes much younger. Sometimes older.

    #1040737
    2qwerty
    Participant

    Once we get a hold of data showing what percentage of couples in our community marry someone their age, what % marry older by 1yr, what % by 2 yrs and so on then we can get a better idea about the age gap.

    So i was thinking maybe we can ask for this info from onlysimchas. Or we can simply crawl their site for this data.

    #1040738
    Joseph
    Participant

    I just completed my reading of Dr. Schick’s new census. It is enormously interesting. Some of my takeaways were that virtually all Chareidi population growth of young families is occurring in Lakewood, Brooklyn (and a little bit in its surrounding areas such as the Five Towns) and Rockland and Monroe counties in New York. This is to the detriment of virtually all the rest of the U.S., which apparently is experiencing a declining or stagnant Orthodox population rate. Lakewood and Monroe are having an enormous population boom while Brooklyn is growing at a steady but lesser rate.

    The largest, by far, Orthodox growth rate is coming from the Chasidic communities followed by a very impressive Yeshivish growth rate. The entire Chasidic growth is in NY and Lakewood. The Chasidim are an increasingly larger portion of NY’s Orthodox community. Satmar alone comprises of 12% or ALL (including non-Orthodox) Jewish children enrolled in Jewish schools in the U.S. Dr. Schick writes that the Chasidic community has remarkably low dropout rate that is pretty close to being statistically insignificant in contrast to what he terms as the sophomoric writers in the secular press and blogs who would give an impression of otherwise. The MO and CO student enrollment body is about the same or a bit higher in raw numbers than it was 15 years ago, which percentage-wise makes it a notable lower proportion of the community considering the enormous Chareidi growth rate. Reform and especially the Conservatives are quickly disappearing among the young generation.

    The report is certainly well worth a good read.

    #1040739
    eman
    Participant

    NASI assumes that the boys and girls are all on the same hashgopho level. That is a HUGE assumptions, as we know that women are on a much higher level than men.

    #1040740
    Mammele
    Participant

    On page 17, footnote 6 in his latest census report Dr. Schick writes that he will compile a report to address the gender issue. So that information will likely be available in the near future.

    Just thought I’d chime in about that, and perhaps get some of you to stop bickering a little about lack of data and be patient.

    #1040741
    golfer
    Participant

    Trust someone named ” Mammele ” to chime in and try to get the rest of us to stop bickering…

    #1040742
    Mammele
    Participant

    Thanks for the laugh Golfer… Now go do your homework!

    Seriously though when you read the report and see the astronomic Yeshiva & Chasidic enrollment growth from year to year ka”h (I.e. The lower the grade the more students enrolled, with the exception of 4 year olds) it’s almost impossible to believe that the age gap is not a factor in the shidduch crisis.

    #1040743

    There is one problem there are NOT the same amount of boys borns as girls. In fact worldwide there are between 105-9 boys born for every 100 girl (in China it is 120:100 but that is for other reasons).

    So the shidduch crisis thing falls.

    There is has been a string of letters in the Yated from the “Shidduch Study Group” trying to collect real data on the “crisis” They have a survey online and they hope to bring some facts to the table

    #1040744
    Joseph
    Participant

    Dr. Schick is reporting that there are statistically significantly more boys than girls in Jewish schools (High School and lower).

    #1040745
    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    To be meaningful, that would have to be broken into the types of schools associated with the community in the shidduch crisis discussion.

    Also, “why” is very important. Is it because more boys exist, or because they are just more likely to be enrolled in a Jewish day school?

    #1040746
    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    I do have a question for Dr. Hall, though.

    Pew reports 4.1 average number of children per orthodox family (the value of those numbers re: shidduchim is similarly qualfied as per my previous comment).

    My question is: what would be the typical population growth by percentage for a four children average, or for a five children average?

    #1040747
    Mammele
    Participant

    Lior: IIRC he was discussing private school students in America, not specifically in Jewish schools. Or is it something I missed?

    #1040748
    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    The relevant paragraph and footnote regarding gender disparity:

    ? Every other year, the U.S. Department of Education conducts a survey of private school enrollment. As this report was being completed, I came across the most recent Federal survey, for the 2011-12 school year. It shows that male enrollment is greater than female enrollment throughout the privateschool sector. Because the gender gap issue is intriguing, I am planning a separate examination of this issue after the census report has been published.

    #1040749
    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    My question is: what would be the typical population growth by percentage for a four children average, or for a five children average?

    My doctorates are not in statistics, but shouldn’t you also need to know how old the parents are when they are having these children?

    (example: Suppose mice live one day and have 5 children. what is their population growth compared to elephants who live 10 years and have 5 children?)

    #1040750
    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    My doctorates are not in statistics

    And it shows.

    Ok, so I’ll rephrase (this is what I meant anyhow):

    My question is: what would be the typical annual population growth by percentage for a four children average, or for a five children average?

    #1040751
    Mammele
    Participant

    Thanks DY. And sorry, Lior. My bad. I read the relevant paragraph DY is quoting but I guess it didn’t register with me properly as I assumed (like Dr. Schick is asking) that it’s because a Jewish education is considered by many parents to be more important for boys.

    But as DY mentioned earlier in the thread we would need to know what the numbers are based on school type & locality to come to any conclusions as to why the school gender disparity exists.

    So I guess we wait for more info…

    Also, I don’t think we need to calculate the gender breakdown for aliya as someone mentioned earlier because kids don’t make aliya by themselves, so we’d assume that it mirrors whatever the gender ratio is. (Not perfect, but close enough.) Dropout rate is something else but hopefully doesn’t apply (or hardly) in elementary, so if there’s a continuous decreasing trend throughout all grades I would for the most part be reluctant to pin the gender disparity on dropouts. But that’s just my opinion.

    Many communities have daily/weekly fliers of brissim/zichorim & kiddushim so if someone is so inclined they can obtain some years worth and start tallying. But again, not everyone advertises, so it may fall short.

    #1040752
    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    I’ll put together a numerical example and show you how brilliant I am.

    Alternatively you can do it first and be almost as brilliant

    #1040753
    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    Ok, so here’s a numerical example that shows that you cannot extrapolate population growth from birth rate without knowing the parents’ age. I will use an extreme example because my rebbe in numbers taught me to use extreme examples to pressure test calculations.

    Constants: Birth rate per couple is 4 (so per person is 2). In other words, on average each person has 2 children between when they are born and when they die. We start in year 1 with 1 couple and calculate to year 100. Population growth will be calculated as the increase in percentage per year. Everyone lives until the year 100 and then all die. The first couple is Generation A, and so on.

    Scenario 1: Generation A gives birth to quadruplets in year 1. Generation B each give birth to quadruplets in year 2. Generation C each gives birth to quadruplets in year 3. And so on for each of the 100 years.

    Result 1:

    Year 0: 2 people.

    Year 1: 4 births.

    Year 2: 8 births.

    Year 3: 16 births.

    Year 4: 32 births

    5: 64

    6: 128

    7: 256

    8: 512

    9: 1024

    10: 2048 Births

    Year 100: Many many many

    Population growth rate: Ask Charlie.

    Scenario 2: Generation A gives birth to quadruplets in year 50. Generation B each give birth to quadruplets in year 100. And so on for each of the 100 years.

    Year 0: 2 people

    Year 1: 2 people

    Year 2: 2 people

    Year 50: 4 births

    Year 51: 0 births

    Year 52: 0 births

    Year 100: 16 births!

    Total people in year 100: 22

    Population growth (22-2)/100

    #1040754
    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    lso, I don’t think we need to calculate the gender breakdown for aliya as someone mentioned earlier because kids don’t make aliya by themselves, so we’d assume that it mirrors whatever the gender ratio is.

    Not so. Many young adults make aliyah themselves before they are married.

    See, this is why you need a REAL STUDY. Because boich sevaros don’t think of everything.

    #1040755
    getting it right
    Participant

    Perhaps a little clarification would help.

    That is precisely what would be expected if the birth ratio of male to female is not 50/50. and since each year there are more males born than females, therefore at each SAME grade level there will be more boys than girls

    2. “Seriously though when you read the report and see the astronomic Yeshiva & Chasidic enrollment growth from year to year ka”h”

    In other words, the number of males in 12th grade is still woefully insufficient for the number of females in 9th grade

    3. Therefore we have a age gap created Shidduch crisis.

    4. Chassisdim have a reverse (although not as alarming) Shidduch crisis. Being that at the same age, there are more boys than girls, and being that the chassidic boys begin to date at roughly the same age as girls, therefore by the chassidim the girls have plenty of options, and the boys are the ones with difficulty in shidduchim.

    #1040756
    Mammele
    Participant

    Sorry PBA, but I did think of it. I specifically addressed “kids” not young adults before they are married. You can choose to ignore the higher grades if you so desire. As mentioned in the census report it’s NOT JUST in high school when the enrollment numbers begin to drop off. It’s from 5 year olds as the starting point all the way up. We need real data, and although incomplete for our purposes there’s a lot of relevant info. in that report.

    I’ll quote (from the actual page 10, PDF page 18)

    “ENROLLMENT BY GRADE

    cohort through the 12th grade, at each higher grade level there is a decrease in enrollment. In the aggregate, over the span

    of the elementary school grades, the enrollment increase is significant. Thus, the five-year-old cohort has 24,000 students, while the 8th grade enrollment amounted to about 16,000 or about two-thirds of the number in the five-year-old group. If we calculate enrollment from the five-year-old group through the 12th grade, the increase across the span of years is 100%, as five-year-old enrollment is double 12th grade enrollment.”

    There’s the exact breakdown later. Incidentally, have you read the report yourself?

    #1040757
    YW Moderator-95
    Moderator

    On page 28 it has the breakdown by grade level. It says there are approximately 12000 12th graders and 15000 9th graders. That is a 25% gap.

    Since the age gap matches up 12th graders to 9th graders, it follows that 25% of women do not get married.

    You call that a catastrophe, Mr. Rechnitz? That’s a calamity!

    #1040758
    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    Popa, you are brilliant, but I was doing other calculations at the time.

    Nice cheshbon, except that childbearing years are pretty constant, there isn’t that much variation, and that’s why I put the word “typical” into my question.

    Similar to your cheshbon, if left over girls are based on average age gap, can we fix the entire shidduch calamity by having one newborn baby boy marry a one hundred year old lady?

    95, Mr, Rechnitz actually quoted a shadchan who said 15% was generous.

    #1040759
    Mammele
    Participant

    PBA: We don’t really need to come up with all the population growth info you are looking for as we have school data which is probably more accurate than guesstimating how many kids are average per family, figuring out over how many years etc.

    And YW-95: the younger grades are probably a better indicator as some boys leave for overseas/Canadian Yeshivos, girls to seminary, and some kids may unfortunately drop out. (Probably more boys, but that’s my opinion.)

    It’s also interesting that although he didn’t ask for gender information at special ed schools, and there are presumably more boys enrolled in such, the rest of the schools still have more boys. And even if this gender disparity is due to actual gender birth differentials, it’s still much less of a difference than the grade differential.

    #1040760
    👑RebYidd23
    Participant

    There are plenty of people who are never accepted in a school. Probably more boys than girls.

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