Curious about the latest marriage statistics? According to Bowling Green State University’s National Center for Marriage and Family Research (via Huffington Post), the average age of women getting married for the first time is now 27. Thank God. This is the highest this number has been in over a century. In 1960, the average bride was 20, and almost half of 18 to 24 year-olds were married (LA Times).
So why do I say, “Thank God?” Learning this released a sense of pressure I didn’t even realized I was feeling. And then I looked around at my friends and on Facebook, and I realized that, yup, those stats seem about right. Only one of close my friends is engaged. She’s 28. As for the rest of my friends, way less than half are in serious relationships and the rest aren’t even close. And that’s totally okay, and statistically, totally normal.
Even more importantly: they’re happy! And they should be! Not that there’s anything wrong with being engaged or married at this age, or even younger. I would say that most of my friends aren’t looking for marriage right now and not because they haven’t met the right person, but because it’s not the top priority. Most of us are trying to make it on our own financially, and make names for ourselves — Gatsby it the fuck up. Some of us are still living with our parents.
And not only is the average age higher (it’s 29 for men now, by the way, up from 22 in 1960), but the overall marriage rate is at the lowest its ever been. What’s much higher is the rate of couples living together, as opposed to being married to each other. That makes sense. It was pretty much a given in the 1950′s — most of the 1960′s that to live with a man without being married was to live in sin, unless you were cool like Peggy Olsen.
Finally, one of the more interesting stats to me, was that in 1950, the average bride and groom knew each other for only 6 months before they got married. In 2012 Psychology Today did a study on average length of a courtship, and found that 3.6 years went by before a couple got engaged. I find these stats interesting because it seems to me that most of the engagement stories I’ve heard about lately are from couples who met online and wed very quickly, as they felt they got to know each other at an accelerated rate by communicating frequently through the internet. By the time they met in person, they felt they’d known each other forever. However, my friend knew her fiance for a few years before getting engaged, so maybe that’s all just wedding blog hype.
What do you think of these stats? What are the trends among your friends?
Photo: ~selyn~ via Flickr under Creative Commons license
Almie Rose is a writer from Los Angeles. She has a blog, Apocalypstick. In addition to Dating & Hookup she also writes for Hello Giggles, The Frisky, Thought Catalog, and Genlux Magazine. Her book, I Forgot To Be Famous, is out now. You can follow her on twitter @apocalypstick. Her favorite pastime is eating and drinking and sleeping and then eating again.
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