Survey finds that the majority of underage girls getting married are from 24 districts
Average life expectancy at birth for Bangladesh's women currently stands at 74.5 years, some 3.3 years more than men.
In 2019, the difference was 3.1 years.
Meanwhile, life expectancy for men currently stands at 71.2 years, according to a Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) report, “Bangladesh Sample Vital Statistics (SVRS) 2020,” published on Monday.
According to the report, in 2019, men were expected to live 71.1 years and women 74.2 years.
In the last five years, life expectancy at birth for men has increased by 328.5 days and by 584 days for women.
Although the country has gone through a pandemic since March last year, statistics show that the average life expectancy reached 72.8 years in 2020 from 72.6 years in 2019.
Average life expectancy for the nation has also increased by 1.2 years in the last five years, according to the report.
Presenting the report and its findings at Monday’s program, Project Director AKM Ashraful Haque said the detailed report had already been published on the BBS website.
Data had been collected every month since 2012 from both urban and rural areas across the country, with the sample covering 1,285,013 people.
Planning Minister MA Mannan and BBS Director General Tajul Islam attended the program.
Mannan said average life expectancy in Japan was 80 years. “We will catch up with them quickly as average life expectancy here is increasing rapidly.”
Most girls getting marriage before 18 in 24 districts
In its report, the BBS finds a worrying scene: incidents of women getting into wedlock for the first time before 18 in over one-third of the country.
In one of the maps in the report it is seen that, girls in Kurigram, Bogra, Chapainawabganj and Chuadanga are married off within the age of 17 and in 18 districts, their mean age of marriage is 18.
However, despite the grim picture, the mean age for the first marriage of girls in the country has increased.
In statistics, there is no difference between the mean and average.
The project director, Ashraful, told Dhaka Tribune that the first mean age for marriage in the country had decreased for males in recent years.
“In 2016, it was 25.2, which came down to 24.2 last year,” he said.
“But the first mean age for marriage of females has increased in the last five years. It was 18.4 in 2016 and now it is 18.7,” he added.
According to the report, the singulate mean age at marriage (SMAM) for both males and females has marked a negligible and irregular increase.
The SMAM is the average length of single life expressed in years among those who marry before age 50. It is a synthetic indicator calculated from the marital status categories of men and women aged 15 to 54 at the census or survey date.
There is a tendency for crude divorce rates to increase over time: from 0.7 in 2005 to 1.0 in 2020 although the pattern of increase is somewhat erratic, the report mentioned.
BBS also finds that males suffer relatively more (9.3 per thousand population) from disability than their female counterparts (7.6 per thousand population).
Past records of sample vital registration systems tend to suggest that the overall disability rate as recorded in 2020 virtually does not show any discernible changes over the last 8 years or so.