Monday Trivia, No. 151 [gingergene wins!]


Burt Likko

Pseudonymous Portlander. Homebrewer. Atheist. Recovering Republican. Recovering Catholic. Recovering divorcé. Editor-in-Chief Emeritus of Ordinary Times. Relapsed Lawyer, admitted to practice law (under his real name) in California and Oregon. On Twitter, to his frequent regret, at @burtlikko. House Likko's Words: Scite Verum. Colite Iusticia. Vivere Con Gaudium.

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17 Responses

  1. Since Kuwait is the only Arab country on the list and has a statistic of 0.0, and since you’ve said that it’s theoretically possible to have a negative number, I think it’s going to be something that has to do with interest rates of some sort, or is at least something tightly correlated with interest rates. What gives me pause is that the PIIGS are mostly not outliers amongst the EU countries listed.

    Whatever it is, though, it’s got to be some sort of a rate statistic.Report

  2. Avatar Rod says:

    A birthrate or fertility rate?Report

  3. Avatar Mike Schilling says:

    Inflation rate.Report

  4. Avatar Mike Schilling says:

    Change in GDP.Report

  5. Avatar Randy Harris says:

    Increase in height of the average adult male.Report

  6. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    Tuesday hint: the number represents a difference between two other numbers.Report

  7. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    Wednesday hint: this trivia puzzle is a nice warm-up for our upcoming symposium.Report

  8. Avatar gingergene says:

    Difference in average age of men vs. women for first marriage?Report

    • Avatar Randy Harris in reply to gingergene says:

      I think you got it.Report

    • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to gingergene says:

      This is exactly correct. I still find it very odd that although most nations keep vital statistics in some form, so few have these numbers reported or at least available.

      I also think that it stands out that the norm of husbands being older than wives seems to prevail in nations where the cultural expectation is for arranged marriages rather than self-selection of spouses; it prevails in Asian, Arab and Western cultures. I’d have predicted, especially in the more industrialized and liberal nations, that the average age of first-time marital partners would have come close to equalizing.

      Is there something special about Kuwaiti culture that produces this result?Report

      • Avatar gingergene in reply to Burt Likko says:

        It looks like what’s going on with Kuwait is an error on Wikipedia (I’m assuming that’s where you grabbed that number from). If you look at their source for Kuwait,, you see that it has Kuwaiti women marrying for the first time at 27.5, and the men at 28.9, which is still out of sync with the rest of their region but not quite the anomaly they first seemed.

        You can also see their data on Africa, South America & PRC. I have no idea where the data on that site comes from, but hey, it was good enough for Wikipedia, right?Report

      • Avatar gingergene in reply to Burt Likko says:

        Correction: it looks like it comes from the World Bank, at least for the Kuwait data. It also looks like marriage in Kuwait got complicated between 1985, when the average age was 22.9/26.3 (F/M) and 1995, when it was 27.0/28.5. I wonder what could have happened to all the marriage-aged men?!?Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to Burt Likko says:

        I got the data from the NationMaster database, and confirmed samples from it against Wikipedia’s list.

        There was a war involving Kuwait in that time, of course, but IIRC, there were not all that many casualties amongst the Kuwaiti civilian population. And Kuwait’s economy and population have exploded since then, with total people rising by more than half again its post-Gulf War I level. One suspects this suggests immigrant workers rather than a baby boom of such magnitude — and if age of marriage is increasing along with a population boom, then maybe what’s going on is the immigrant workers aren’t able to get marriage licenses for some reason (perhaps they’re only given to citizens?) and at the same time the increased wealth and increased educational levels have resulted in young people of both sexes, but especially women, to defer marriage until later in life.

        Just theories.Report