Tuesday, September 6, 2022

New Historical Marriage Figures from US Census Bureau

The US Census Bureau released a report a few days ago, providing extensive marriage statistics on individuals born from 1940-1994 (link). Someone born in 1940 would be 82 today, whereas someone born in 1994 would be 28. The data are grouped into five-year birth bunches (1940-1944, 1945-1949, etc.). 

As shown in the following screen capture (on which I've literally connected the dots in yellow highlighter for ease of viewing), the percentage of people married by age 25 has plummeted during the years studied. As highlighted in the lower yellow line, 80% of women born between 1940-1944 were married by age 25. By the time we get to the 1990-1994 birth-cohort, however, only 30% were married by 25. That's a huge change! Men's trend for marrying by 25 (bottom set of dots) parallels women's, although is lower in absolute level. Roughly 65% of men born from 1940-1944 married by age 25, a figure that has dropped to 20% in men born from 1990-1994. 

Note that the trendlines for men and women being marrying by age 35 (top yellow line) also declined from 1940-1944 onward, but much more gradually than did the marriage-by-25 trendlines.* What this is saying is that, even for the younger cohorts, marriage by 35 is quite common (around 70%).

The report also contains statistics on the rate of being married once vs. multiple times. Click on the above-linked article if you're interested.


*You may have noticed that there are no married-by-35 data-points for the two youngest birth-cohorts (1985-1989 and 1990-1994). The reason is that nobody born from 1990-1994 has yet reached age 35, whereas only some in the 1985-1989 cohort have. Hence, the percent in these cohorts who have married by age 35 won't be known for a few more years.

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