Prepare yourselves, Bachelor Nation, because the women of Colton Underwood’s season have officially been announced, and fans are going to be pleasantly surprised that this year, the bachelor isn’t vastly older than the contestants. The average age of the women on The Bachelor Season 23 is 25, which makes sense since Colton is 26. In the past, The Bachelor has been notorious for having mostly much younger women vying for the heart of an older man. However, this season, the age gap is much smaller, which could lead to a match that could last.
Having an age gap in a relationship doesn’t doom it, but a study done by the University of Utah did find that people who marry in their late 20s to early 30s tend to have a lower divorce rate. That could be good news for Colton and the women on the show, since most of them are in that statistical sweet spot. Of course, nothing about The Bachelor is predictable, but if this season ends in a proposal, then Colton and the woman who captures his heart might just be built to last.
As for details on the age spread: the youngest woman on the show this season is the 22-year-old Heather from Carlsbad, California. Meanwhile, the oldest women are Elyse, from Alaska, and Tracy, from Los Angeles, who are both 31. Colton is a bit of anomaly in Bachelor Nation himself. In recent years, the show’s bachelors have been getting older while the average contestant range hovered around the mid to early 20s. However, at age 26, Colton is the show’s second youngest bachelor — Season 5’s Jesse Palmer, who was 25 when he filmed his season, is still the youngest.
It’s important to remember that an age difference between consenting adults really can be just a number. Statistics aside, the path to true love involves far more important things like shared values, common interests, and chemistry. And dismissing someone based on age alone can be sexist, as the constant discussion surrounding the 14 year age gap between Bekah Martinez and Arie Luyendyk, Jr. illustrated in Season 22.
Bustle did the math in 2017, and found that, on average, there’s a 15 year age span between the contestants on the The Bachelorette, versus an 18 year span on The Bachelor. The issue with The Bachelor‘s age gap in recent years is that the women tend to be significantly younger than the man, while on The Bachelorette, the male contestants can be younger or older without much comment being made. This double standard is frustrating on a number of levels, but mostly because it perpetuates the idea that older women are somehow less desirable, or that they’re incompatible with younger men.
There’s no way of knowing if having the average age of Colton’s season’s contestants line up so closely with his own age will change this trend in any significant way. In fact, during the live announcement of the women on Facebook, host Chris Harrison identified 31-year-old Elyse as "the mother of the group." While this may be an entirely accurate description based on her personality and not on her age, it certainly sounds suspect when the show’s track record is considered.
For now, let’s focus on the positives: if the statistics hold up, then Colton’s season might just have a fairy tale ending for him (and the viewers).
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