Though I’m sure that everyone had a spectacular time celebrating the New Year a few days ago, I for one was too busy looking forward to Monday, Jan. 4. It may sound odd, but that very important date marks the premiere of Ben Higgins' season of The Bachelor. There are only a few short hours separating the greater Bachelor nation from the premiere of the latest installment starring the software sales extraordinaire, and a bevy of lovely contestants hoping to find love. I have a barge’s worth of burning questions, but here’s a less complex one for fans to discuss before the premiere — just how old is Ben Higgins?
According to his ABC bio, Ben is 26 years old, which actually caused a bit of controversy when he was on The Bachelorette. In case you are unfamiliar with Mr. Higgins’ journey, he competed to win 30-year-old Bachelorette Kaitlyn Bristowe’s heart last season, but admitted nine episodes in that he had only recently turned 26, when he originally said he entered the show at that age. It was just a few months' difference, but Ben still came clean to Kaitlyn, and now seems to be starting his own Bachelor season with his correct age.
At 26, Ben is actually tied with Season 5 Bachelor Jesse Palmer as the youngest on the series, which actually makes him closer in age to the season's contestants than previous Bachelors. According to my own calculation, the median age of the Bachelor contestants over the course of the past 19 seasons is 33.1 years. Statistics provided by the United States Census Bureau indicate that the average age for a man to first get married is closer to 29, but for a woman it is around 27. That means that the ABC has, in the past, actually selected male contestants whose age is higher than that of the average American for a first marriage.
As for the female contestants, this season features women who are slightly younger than the national average for a first marriage. The average age of the season's 28 contestants is 26 years old, same as Ben. This is a remarkable departure from seasons past, when the oldest Bachelor was 40 years old, but female contestants were consistently in their 20s.
Of course, age is just a number, and Ben being closer in age to the season's contestants doesn't make him any more or less likely to find love. Like any Bachelor, he'll have to go through plenty of dates, drama, and rose ceremonies before he hopefully finds the one.
Images: Felicia Graham, Craig Sjodin/ABC