States Where People Marry Young (and Old)

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The states where people marry the youngest:

5. Wyoming
> Median age at first marriage for men: 26.9 (eighth lowest)
> Median age at first marriage for women: 24.2 (third lowest)
> Median household income: $53,512 (16th highest)
> Poverty rate: 10.3% (seventh lowest)
> Population growth: 14.1% (12th highest)

While Wyoming does not fall into the category of poorer states whose residents tend to have a lower age at first marriage, it has become the norm for many to marry young. This is especially true for women, among whom the median age for the first marriage is 24.2 years — the third-lowest in the country. The median age for men is the eighth lowest. The rate of population growth in Wyoming between 2000 and 2010 is nearly 50% greater than the national rate.

4. Oklahoma
> Median age at first marriage for men: 26.2 (fourth lowest)
> Median age at first marriage for women: 24.7 (fifth lowest)
> Median household income: $42,072 (eighth lowest)
> Poverty rate: 16.3% (12th highest)
> Population growth: 8.7% (24th highest)

Residents of Oklahoma are in poor economic shape. The state has the eighth lowest median income and the 12th highest poverty rate. In addition to the high number of young marriages marriage, Oklahoma has an exceptionally high divorce rate. According to the Oklahoma Marriage Initiative, “32% of all adults [in Oklahoma] have divorced compared to 21% nationally.” Those who tie the knot in the state when they were under the age of 20 are the most likely to get divorced, the group also notes.

3. Arkansas
> Median age at first marriage for men: 26.2 (third lowest)
> Median age at first marriage for women: 24.7 (fourth lowest)
> Median household income: $38,307 (third lowest)
> Poverty rate: 18.4% (3rd highest)
> Population growth: 9.1% (22nd highest)

Arkansas, like Oklahoma, is a very poor state. It has the third-lowest median household income in the country and the third-highest percentage of residents living below the poverty line. The state also has a very high divorce rate. In fact, Arkansas men had the highest divorce rate in the country 2009. According to the Pew Research Center, about 10% of the state’s adults who have ever been married have been married three times — a much higher percentage than the national average of 5%.

2. Idaho
> Median age at first marriage for men: 25.5 (tied for lowest)
> Median age at first marriage for women: 23.4 (second lowest)
> Median household income: $43,490 (13th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 14.3% (23rd highest)
> Population growth: 21.2% (fourth highest)

Idaho men get married for the first time at 25.5 years old — the lowest median age among all states. The women marry for the first time at 23.4 years old — the second lowest median age. According to the Pew Research Center, the rate of divorces “tends to be high in states where women marry young, such as Oklahoma and Idaho.” Idaho is also the state with the highest share of people who are currently married at 58% of men and 56% of women. The state’s increase in population is the fourth-largest in the country.

1. Utah
> Median age at first marriage for men: 25.5 (tied for lowest)
> Median age at first marriage for women: 23.3 (the lowest)
> Median household income: $54,744 (13th highest)
> Poverty rate: 11.5% (12th lowest)
> Population growth: 23.8% (third highest)

Utah is tied with Idaho for the state where people get married the youngest. The men get married for the first time at a median age of 25.5 years old, the second lowest in the country, and the women at 23.3 years — the lowest in the country. Not only do they marry young, but the rate of marriages in 2009 was higher in the state than in any other. This implies a strong, current trend of young people starting families. Between 2000 and 2010, Utah’s population grew 23.77%, which is the third largest increase in the country. Much of this can be attributed to the state’s large Mormon population. According to a 2008 article released by the church, 72% of Utah residents are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.