Special Report

This Is the Worst City for Marriage

CDC data shows that there were 1,676,911 marriages in 2020. That is the good news. The bad news is that divorces hit 630,505 (with 45 states and the District of Columbia reporting). Presumably most of these marriages started out blissfully, and the weddings were a day of joy. What happened thereafter varies widely from couple to couple. (See the cost of getting married in America’s largest cities.)

There is a case to be made that some locations in America are better places to get – and stay – married than others. And the worst city in the country in both regards is Montgomery, Alabama.

Marriage has changed as an institution in America. Fewer people are married and have children in the same household than in the past. According to Pew, the U.S. has the highest percentage of single parent households of any country in the world (out of 130). Some 23% of children under 18 live with one adult, or no adult at all. When the Census celebrated “National Single Parent Day” on March 22, it reported that the number of “mother only” or “father only” families had soared since 1950. (These are the states where couples have been married the longest.)

To compile a list of the worst cities in which to get (and stay) married, 24/7 Tempo reviewed a ranking formulated by LawnStarter, a lawn care start-up that frequently conducts research into city and state amenities. 

The ranking considers 190 of the largest U.S. cities by population, and is based on nine differently weighted metrics in four categories – marriage stability (judged by marriage and divorce or separation rates), marriage potential (including percentage of never-married young population), marriage intervention (number of relationship therapists per 10,000 married households), and wedding-friendliness (including indoor and outdoor wedding suitability). LawnStarter sourced their data from Lawn Love, Psychology Today, Yelp, Zola, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the U.S. Census Bureau.

Click here to see the worst cities for marriage

According to LawnStarter, 30 of the 50 worst cities for marriages are in the South (including Texas). Only four are in Western states, with the balance found in the Northeast and Middle West.

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