Marriage as an institution has proved to be surprisingly durable. Even after decades of social change, including the sexual revolution, advances for women in many fields, and the destigmatization of single parenthood, many people still want to get married, and they want their marriages to last “till death do us part.” (Here is the cost of getting married in America’s largest cities.)
Unfortunately, marriages aren’t always as durable as the institution itself, and many end in divorce. 24/7 Tempo has ranked all 50 states and the District of Columbia according to the average duration of their marriages. Of course the rankings aren’t just influenced by death and divorce rates. Other factors include median age at marriage, which differs for men and women, and age demographics.
The numbers can vary significantly. For example, the median age at first marriage for men in Connecticut is 32.1 years; in Wyoming it’s only 26.5. For women, the median age at first marriage for women in Rhode Island is 30.5; in Utah it’s only 24.8. (This is the city where most people get divorced in each state.)
Because of all the variables, the median duration of current marriages also varies dramatically, from a high of 22.5 years in West Virginia to a low of 11.1 in the District of Columbia – less than half as long. Generally, marriages seem to last longer in the North and Northeast, and not as long in the South and Southwest. Different social mores may account for some of the variations. It’s also noteworthy that in many cases, states with a higher percentage of older residents also have longer-lasting marriages.
To identify the states where people stay married the longest, 24/7 Tempo reviewed the median duration of current marriages in every state and Washington D.C. from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey.
Data on median age at first marriage for males and females, the percentage of state residents 15 and older who are widowed, and the percentages of each population between the ages of 25-35, 18-62, and 65 or more, were also obtained from the ACS.
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