60-Second Science

U.S. Marriage Rates Keep Declining

Marriage rates in America are at an all-time low. And the median age at which women say "I do" is the highest it's been in a century. Christopher Intagliata reports

If you haven't already picked up on the trend from all the whining on Bravo’s Princesses: Long Island, marriage rates in America are at an all-time low. And the median age at which women do say "I do" is now 27, the highest it's been in a century. That's according to a new report by Bowling Green State University’s Julissa Cruz, published by the National Center for Family and Marriage Research. [Julissa Cruz, Marriage: More Than a Century of Change]

In the 1920s, 92 women walked down the aisle each year per 1,000 single women of marrying age. Today, it's a third that. Marriage rates were expected to plateau in the wake of the baby boom, but so far they just keep dropping.

Apparently, many college-educated women are simply putting off getting hitched, and many black women might be foregoing it altogether. Because while every ethnic group has seen a drop in the proportion of married women since the '50s, it's dipped lowest for black women—just 26 percent of whom are married.

In the U.K. and most of Europe, the average age for women tying the knot is already more than 30. And if Long Island’s reality stars are an indicator, we're soon to follow.

—Christopher Intagliata

[The above text is a transcript of this podcast.]

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