Johannesburg - South Africa's young women have an aversion for marriage vows when compared with their counterparts in other developing countries.
At the age of 24 only half of our women have tied the knot, while half of Ghanaian girls went through the ceremony at the age of 18.
In Ghana an unmarried woman is regarded as a spinster when she is 25 and then forms part of the 5% of women who won't ever marry.
These are some of the findings from a study by Professor Yaw Amoateng, a sociologist of the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), presented in Pretoria on Thursday.
Approximately 11% of South African women are not interested in marriage at all.
White women and Asians are more likely to tie the knot than black and coloured women. At the age of 29 some 93% of White and Asian women are already married, while in the second group 90% are only married at by age of 63.
Only 2% of whites and Asians are single at the age of 49 compared with 12% of black and coloured women.
There was a decline in the number of marriages in South Africa between 1996 and 2001.
Amoateng is of the opinion that the reason for the postponement or summary rejection of marriage is due to the fact that young people prefer to live together nowadays. This phenomenon has grown especially amongst black people and women between the ages of 20 and 34 years.
The number of white women between 20 and 24 who are co-habiting has decreased while more white women over the age of 30 prefer this option.
Since 1996 the divorce rate for all races has shown an increase with the sharpest increase amongst whites.
The number of mixed marriages has also increased, from 6.4% to 10.6%.
The study found that marriages between whites has declined by 25% and between Asians by 14%. One possible explanation for this is that many young couples in these groups are leaving the country.
Ghanaians also beat South Africans when it came to motherhood. In Ghana 62% women have already given birth to a child at the age of 20 compared with only 24% of South African women.