Marriage is an essential social institution where couples make long-lasting commitments to each other. It has moral obligations, such as companionship, family building, love, commitment, etc.
According to the following statistics, it’s evident that the number of people getting married has fallen in recent decades. Marriage rates have declined over the years and are now at “record lows.”
In the US, marriage is becoming less common, with most people marrying late for different reasons and unmarried people choosing to live together.
In this article, we’ll look at the marriage statistics of the US population and the factors behind the decline.
Top marriage statistics you should know
- The number of marriages in the US is around 1,676,911 million. (CDC)
- The marriage rate is 5.1 per 1000 people, down from 6.1 per 1000 in 2019. (CDC)
- In 2021, there were 61.45 million married couples in the US. (Statista)
- The marriage rate is the lowest today since the US government began keeping records in 1867. (Wall Street Journal)
- Approximately 80% of US households were married couples 70 years ago, compared to 49% of married couples today. (US News)
- Among unmarried adults, 58% say they wish to get married in the future, 27% are unsure if they want to, and 14% say they don’t want to get married. (Pew Research)
- Among unmarried adults who want to get married someday, 9% say they’ve not found the right partner, and 41% state not being financially stable as the main reason they are unmarried. (Pew Research)
- The average length of US marriages is 19.9 years. However, Maine and West Virginia married couples have the longest-lasting marriages (an average of 22.3 years). (Legal jobs)
Marriage statistics in the US
Here are the marriage statistics based on demographics.
Marriage rate by sex
- There are 68.33 million married women and 67.54 million married men. (Statista)
- 42% of unmarried men are likely to cite that not being financially stable is the main reason they are not married, compared to 40% of women. (Pew Research)
What is the average age of marriage?
According to The Knot 2021 Real Wedding Study;
- The average age of marriage has increased to 34 years, compared to the average age for 2019 and 2020, which was 32.
- The average age of marriage for women is 33 and 35 for men.
Average age of marriage by region
The average age of marriage is different according to region. A region can affect several factors related to marriage, including wedding planning, cost, number of guests, etc.
Let’s break down the average age of marriage by region.
- Northeast: Women, 33, and Men, 34 – average age per couple is 34
- Mid-Atlantic: Women, 33, and Men, 34 – average per couple is 33
- Midwest: Women, 31, and Men, 33 – average age per couple is 32
- South/Southeast: Women, 33 and Men, 34 – average age per couple is 33
- Southwest: Women, 32, and Men, 33 – average age per couple is 32
- West: Women, 33, and Men, 34 – average age per couple is 33
Average age of marriage by state
Depending on the state, the marriage age is set by common law or individual statute. The minimum marriage age is set to avoid child marriages.
- In all states, people can marry without parental consent at 18, except Nebraska, where the minimum marriage age is 19. (World Population Review)
- More than half of the states allow the minimum marriage age of 16 with parental consent. (Tahirih Justice Center)
- 15 states allow minors less than 16 to be married. (Tahirih Justice Center)
- 8 states have no official minimum marriage age but require parental consent or court approval; California, Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Washington, and Wyoming.
Marriage rate by state
- Nevada has the highest marriage rate, with 21 marriages per 1000 residents. Montana follows it with 10.4 marriages per 1000 residents. Other states with high marriage rates are Utah, Arkansas, and Hawaii. (Statista)
- Texas has the lowest marriage rate, with only 4.9 marriages per 1000 residents. Wisconsin, Delaware, Connecticut, and Massachusetts are other states with low marriage rates. (World Population Review)
Interracial marriage rate
Data from Gallup polling shows that;
- Interracial marriages are at an all-time high of 94%.
- 96% of non-White Americans and 93% of Whites approve of interracial marriages.
- 98% of adults aged between 18-29 approve of interracial marriages, 97% of adults between 30-47, and 91% of those aged 50 and older approve of the same.
Interracial marriage rate by region
The following are the approval rates for interracial marriages across the country.
- East- 94%
- Midwest- 93%
- South- 93%
- West- 97%
Same-sex marriage rate
According to a recently released report from Census Bureau,
- There are 1.2 million same-sex couple households in the country.
- Nearly 60% (710,000) of same-sex couple householders are married, while 500,000 are not.
- A larger percentage of same-sex couples (31.6%) are interracial, compared to 18.4% of opposite-sex couples.
- Washington has the highest percentage of same-sex couple households at 2.5%.
- The average age of those in same-sex marriages is 48.9 years, lower than that in opposite-sex marriages (52.8 years).
There is a difference in marriage rates by social class. Social classes are classified as ‘poor,’ ‘working class,’ and ‘middle and upper class.’
According to the Institute for Family Studies data, marriage rates were lower among low-income populations than in high-income populations in 2017.
- 56% of middle and upper-class people between 18-55 years old were married, compared to 39% of working-class and 26% of poor people of the same age.
- Spouses between 18-55 who were ‘very happy’ in marriages are as follows; 54% were poor, 56% were working class, and 65% were middle and upper class.
Marriage rate by religion
According to Pew Research Center, the percentage of adults who are married by religion is:
- Buddhist- 39%
- Catholic- 52%
- Evangelical Protestant- 55%
- Hindu- 60%
- Historically Black Protestant- 31%
- Jehovah’s Witness- 53%
- Jewish- 56%
- Mainline Protestant- 55%
- Mormon- 66%
- Muslim- 41%
- Orthodox Christian- 48%
Marriage rate by politics
- 21% of marriages are politically mixed- 3.6% of those are between Democrats and Republicans. (Institute for Family Studies)
- In 1958, Gallup asked Americans who they would want their daughter to marry between a Democrat and a Republican. 18% said they would prefer a Democrat, 10% preferred a Republican, and the rest didn’t care about political affiliations. However, in 2016, 28% preferred their daughter to marry a Democrat, 27% preferred a Republican, and the rest didn’t care. (Institute for Family Affairs)
What is the most common reason for marriage?
Why do people get married?
Data from Pew Research shows the following.
- 88% of adults get married for love
- 81% of adults get married to make lifelong commitments.
- 76% get married for companionship.
- 49% of adults get married to have children.
- 30% of adults marry to have their relationships recognized in religious ceremonies.
- 28% of adults marry for financial stability.
- 23% get married for legal rights and benefits.
- 71% of adults say that it’s important for a man to be in a position to support a family financially to make a good husband, compared with 32% who said the same for a woman to make a good wife.
- As far as keeping a marriage intact, 64% of married adults say that shared interests keep a marriage going, 64% say a satisfying sexual relationship, and 56% say sharing household chores.
What is the success rate of marriage?
Between 40-50% of marriages are likely to end in divorce. This is promising because it means that there is a 50-60% chance of marriages succeeding. (Legal jobs)
- The happiest and most fulfilling marriages are between those with close friendships with their spouse. (Business Insider)
- The closer the age gap between spouses, the greater the chance for the marriage to survive. (Business Insider)
- Gratitude is key to the success of a marriage.
What percentages of marriages are happy?
Married people are more likely to be happier than single people.
- 36% of people who have been married (including the separated, divorced, and widowed) say they are ‘very happy,’ compared to 22% of unmarried people. (Institute for Family Studies)
- Married men are happier after marriage than they would be if they remained single. (Men’s health)
What years are the happiest in marriage?
Married couples are at their happiest when they reach the 20-year mark in their marriage. This is because they have gone through many experiences (good and bad) that have made them stronger. In addition, they have developed communication skills that help them work through their issues.
Most importantly, they have a deeper sense of appreciation for each other. (Bustle)
Wrapping up: Marriage statistics in the US
This comprehensive guide provides detailed information on marriage statistics and factors affecting marriages in the US.
The truth is; the marriage rate has continued to decline in the US over the past few decades. This decline can be mainly attributed to delayed marriages among younger people and cohabitation.
However, regardless of the decline, most people are still getting married for different reasons, including love, lifetime commitment, companionship, family building, etc.