This weeks Hebrew Mishpacha magazine had a very depressing article that because of the economic downturn and the rising apartment prices the shidduch market has slowed down dramatically in Israel. The reason is very simple fewer and fewer parents of girls can afford to buy an apartment for the couple. Many/most of the boys are still holding out for an apartment and there are very
few parents of girls who can afford it.
The article says that the dormitories in the Yeshivas are full because the older boys who should be getting married aren't. One Rosh Yeshiva said that usually around 30 boys a year get married, this year only 10 got married. The head of a post high school seminary said that in the past half the girls were engaged or married by the end of the year, last year it was only 10%. The reason is very simple, the boys are holding out for an apartment and the girl's parents simply can't afford it.
The bottom line is that the average Charedi family size has gone up to over 6 kids per family and the income sources have gone down. In previous generations people had war/holocaust reparations from Germany, people actually worked, the cost of living in Israel was much lower, people had money from grandparents, and people lived much simpler life styles. All of these things have gone away. We now have the second or third generation of kollel only parents marrying off their daughters and the money is simply not there. There is simply no way that people can afford to pay $150,000+ to marry off their daughter.
The big question is what is going to happen? IMHO this is a much bigger issue then concerts, internet, etc. This goes to the heart of things marriage and family. It is disappointing that more hasn't been done by the Charedi leadership on this issue.
Interesting read about what a glut of Arab single men, unable to marry because they lack funds to marry "properly", is doing to Egyptian society. Two concepts: destabilization and growth of extremism. Many would predict that amongst the Orthodox, the opposite would set in.