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Study: Fewer Americans are getting married

Fewer Americans are getting married, and the states that have the highest rate of marriages also have higher divorce rates.

August 25, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Fewer Americans are getting married, and the states that have the highest rate of marriages also have higher divorce rates.

This is from the first-of its-kind analysis by the Census Bureau. Figures from 2009 show that states in the South and the West have more weddings, about 19 per 1000. However, those regions also have the most divorces with roughly 10 per 1000.

New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York ranked among the lowest in divorces. The Census Bureau report attributed the lower rates of divorce in the Northeast in part to delayed marriage in those places, which decreased the likelihood of marital discord down the road.

The analysis also finds that people are waiting longer before marrying for the first time. The Census Bureau found that as a whole, since 1970, the median age at first marriage increased from 22.5 years to 28.4 for men and from 20.6 years to 26.5 for women.

Marriages have been declining for years due to rising divorce, more unmarried couples living together and increased job prospects for women.

But analysts say younger people also may now be increasingly choosing to delay marriage as they struggle to find work and resist making long-term commitments in the recent recession.

The census analysis is based on 2009 data from the American Community Survey, which sampled 3 million households.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.


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