Recent marriage statistics show that an average US marriage lasts for about seven years. But why is it so? Would all these relationships last longer if they hadn’t been made official and legally acknowledged? The truth is, marriage brings different challenges than other relationships, and whether it will last depends solely on how the people involved handle it.
Nevertheless, no marriage is devoid of occasional quarrels. Couples go through a lot during the years they spend together, and their personalities tend to change. What percentage of marriages end up in divorce, and how come some manage to endure the same obstacles? We took a closer look at some quite fascinating data on marriage and we compiled them into the article below.
Top 10 Relevant Stats and Facts on Marriage
- 88% of Americans confirm that love is still the number-one reason to get married.
- The average marriage age tends to be somewhat higher in more developed countries.
- 64% of men who are divorced or widowed remarry, compared to just 52% of divorced or widowed women.
- Italian couples stay together for longer with a national divorce rate of just 30.7%.
- Marriage statistics by age group reveal that Ireland has the world’s oldest brides with a median age of 32.4 years.
- 80% of Norwegians born to immigrant parents married someone with an immigrant background as well.
- Lesbian marriages are approximately twice as likely to end in divorce than gay (men) marriages.
- The majority of Americans (61%) support same-sex marriage.
- 48% of men fall in love at first sight, compared to just 28% of women.
- The percentage of interracial marriages in America has increased fivefold, making up about 17% of all US marriages.
General Marriage Statistics
1. The timing of first marriages is not what it used to be.
Back in the ’90s, women used to be much younger when they got married for the first time. Today, on average, women get married for the first time at the age of 28, and men at the age of 30. Although it’s apparent that the timing of first marriages has indeed changed, marriage rates themselves have changed only somewhat, with a decline of around 8%.
2. Love is still the number one reason you should get married according to 88% of Americans, marriage statistics from 2019 reveal.
Nine out of ten Americans state love is an essential reason to get married (88%), making a lifelong commitment is a close second (81%), and intimacy ranks third (76%), stats reveal. Only a small minority stated that religious beliefs (30%), finances (28%), and legal benefits (23%) were the main reasons to get married.
3. Men are more likely to get married after falling in love at first sight.
Recent US marriage statistics show that 48% of men fall in love at first sight, compared to just 28% of women. Moreover, 33% of men admit that they would like their significant other to be more romantic as well.
4. A 2017 survey revealed that being a capable financial provider was an important asset of a good (potential) husband or partner.
Approximately 71% of adults (both male and female) agreed that it was vital for a man to be able to provide for his family (financially) in order to be considered a good husband or partner. Interestingly, only 32% of examinees said the same for women.
5. Couples living together before marriage, as statistics show, are less likely to divorce.
Back in the day (mainly the 1950s–1970s), living together before getting married was considered a revolt against social norms and couples who dared break them were also expected to do the same when it came to separation.
However, since the 2000s, the percentage of premarital cohabitation has climbed to 70% and its association with divorce likelihood vanished. In fact, since 2000, premarital co-residence could even be associated with a lower rate of divorce.
6. Older-woman-younger-man marriage statistics reveal 34% of women in the 40–69 age group date younger men.
(Consumer Health Day)
Older men dating younger women has been commonplace for a long time, but the most recent statistics show that nowadays the number of older women dating younger men is on the rise as well. Due to markedly high divorce rates, 40% of Americans over 45 are single, and according to a survey concerning their dating habits (including 3,500 examinees), 34% of women aged 40–69 are currently dating younger men. Furthermore, 14% of women 50–59 years old admit they prefer dating younger men (who are either in their 40s or even younger).
Global Marriage Statistics
7. The average marriage age tends to be somewhat higher in more developed countries.
Additionally, the age gap between men and women is usually smaller in developed countries. On the other hand, in African countries, people usually get married at a much younger age than in most Western countries, with somewhat bigger age gaps as well. The country with the lowest marriage age, according to marriage statistics, is Malawi, where women get married at the age of 19.9 years; still, Malawi men tend to marry at a slightly older age of 23.7.
8. Italian couples stay together for longer with a national divorce rate of 18.2%
(Hopes and Fears)
According to the research conducted by the Economist, Italian married couples stay together for longer than in any other country. Furthermore, the average length of marriage in Italy is between 15–18 years. Still, regardless of the fact that couples in Italy stay together for a fairly long time, statistics on separation over time show that splitting up is still not so uncommon: for every 1,000 marriages, there were 158 separations in 1995, and 307 in 2010, as well as 80 and 182 divorces in 1995 and 2010, respectively.
9. Marriage and divorce statistics also show that Russia has the highest national divorce rate — a whopping 60%!
(World Population Review)
Russia has an exceptionally high divorce rate, sitting at about 60%; roughly 4 out of 6 marriages get officially dissolved in this country.
10. Ireland has the world’s oldest brides with a median age of 32.4 years.
Interestingly, according to recent marriage statistics by age, women in Ireland rarely marry in their early 20s — the median age of an Irish bride is 32.4. Moreover, Ireland is a country with the most negligible age gap between women and men; on average, men are only one year older than their spouses. This still reflects the global tendency of men being at least a bit older than the women they marry.
11. The average marriage length statistics (2016) reveal that 44% of divorces in South Africa were of marriages that lasted for less than 10 years.
In South Africa, the percentage of marriages whose “happily ever after” lasted less than 10 years was significantly higher than in other parts of the world.
Additionally, the results showed that 31,7% of black African couples, 25% of white couples, and 22,4% of Asian couples had marriages that lasted 5–9 years. Generally, over the course of a 13-year period (2003–2016), the divorce rate of black Africans increased, whereas the white population’s divorce rate saw a decline.
12. According to marriage statistics from 2015, unmarried couples made up one out of five relationships of people living together in France.
As expected, on average, these couples are much younger than married people. Also, women living in an unmarried partnership get pregnant more often than married ones. What’s more, unmarried couples are often parents of minors as well. Plus, unmarried couples that live together usually have a lower standard of living: 22,500 euros in 2015, compared to 26,400 euros for married couples (in mainland France).
13. According to statistics about marriage, 80% of Norwegians born to immigrant parents married someone coming from an immigrant background as well.
The same applies vice versa — 90% of those without an immigrant background have also married someone without one. Furthermore, couples of the same background tend to marry at a younger age than those of different immigrant backgrounds. Hence, in the case of Norway, birds of a feather do, in fact, stick together.
14. Marriage statistics from 2018 showed that only 7.2 people out of 1,000 got married in China last year.
According to the NBS, this is the lowest marriage rate since 2013. A survey by the People’s Daily inspected the reasons and it turned out that 29.5% of examinees weren’t married because they still hadn’t met the “one,” and 23.4% said they didn’t feel ready to take such kind of responsibility. Honorary mentions include the overall shift towards marrying later, China’s declining population, as well as higher costs of living.
15. 2.3 years is the average age gap between men and women in married couples, with men usually being older.
Still, recent statistics about marriage indicate that as our ideas on human relationships and marriage change, so do our views on (acceptable) partner age gaps. The dating site, Zoosk, found out that those who dated online were 9% more attracted to liking, messaging, and having a long conversation with someone significantly older or younger than them. More specifically, they are most likely to opt for people either 10 years older or younger than them, which is not a negligible age difference.
16. Remarriage — the latest trend according to US marriage statistics.
The percentage of people that remarried in the US increased from 13% (back in 1960) to 23% (as of today). Also, in general, men remarry more often than women (64% compared to just 52%); supposedly, women were less interested in remarrying than men overall.
17. Since 2016, both the marriage and the divorce rates in the US have diminished.
How many marriages end in divorce? Recent studies indicate that the current marriage rate in the US is 6.8 per 1,000 total population, whereas the divorce rate is reported to be at 3.2 per 1,000 population, according to CDC research, encompassing 44 states. However, this is a “crude divorce rate,” serving to indicate rate changes over time and is not indicative of the percentage of first marriages ending in divorce.
Stats on Different Marriage Groups
18. Same-sex marriage statistics show that 60% of Americans opposed same-sex marriage, but this has changed dramatically (to say the least).
Although a somewhat controversial topic in the past, over the past 15 years, the number of US citizens that support same-sex marriage has increased considerably, reaching new highs. As a result, today, statistics are much brighter — according to Pew Research Center’s marriage statistics from 2019, the vast majority of Americans (61%) support same-sex marriage.
19. Lesbian marriages are about twice as likely to end in divorce than gay (men) marriages, according to the Office for National Statistics.
The report shows that in 2016 112 same-sex couples divorced — which is 5 times more than the previous year when there were only 22 divorces reported. In England and Wales, over ¾ of all split-ups (78%) were between lesbian couples, out of which 87 ended their marital relationships. On the other hand, there were only 25 divorces among gay men. The rationale behind this phenomenon is that women tend to rush into commitment and set somewhat higher expectations than men.
20. Interracial marriage statistics show that since 1967 the percentage of interracial marriages in America has multiplied fivefold, making up 17% of all US marriages.
It’s been over five decades since the US supreme court legalized interracial marriage when it made up only 3% of all US marriages. What’s more, it’s more common in metropolitan than in rural areas (18% compared to 11%); there are variations within metropolitan areas as well — for instance, in Honolulu, Hawaii, 42% of weddings are interracial, while in Jackson, Mississippi, they make up merely 3%.
21. 80–90% out of 1902 people examined by Bergham and Strand claimed they were happier after they made their marriage more “open”.
Open marriage statistics reveal that even though 50% of examinees reported that they were “very happy” before engaging in the swinging lifestyle, they were even happier afterward. Another study also showed that 76% of partners in open marriages felt that their marriage was better than average to outstanding. Nevertheless, some studies show mixed results and do not indicate any notable difference in marital satisfaction between monogamous and open marriages.
22. Sexless marriage statistics show that sexual abstinence is more common than you might think.
(Very Well Mind)
The latest research has found out that people don’t really have as much sex as you would think. Namely, research from 2017 showed that over 15% of men and approximately 27% of women had not engaged in any sexual intercourse at all during the previous year.
Healthy Marriage Statistics
23. Apart from health and economic activity, marital status is among the top three factors that make people happy.
Based on data obtained from 286,059 examinees between October 2017 and September 2018, marital status, economic activity, and health ranked as the top three things that contribute to the feeling of happiness. 9.9% was what couples rated their life satisfaction, which is higher than that of widows and widowers.
In addition, love and marriage statistics show that couples that were married were overall happier (8.8%) than divorced or separated couples. On the other hand, singles were reportedly only 0.2% happier than divorcees.
24. Even happy couples fight sometimes, but they do it differently.
(Facts and Trends)
Contrary to popular belief, happy couples do argue as well. Yet, they handle their hurt feelings in different ways — namely, 7 out of 10 happy couples admit they have some kind of internal “everything’s fine” signal after the fight. When it comes to less happy couples, only 22% of them report having this kind of signal.
25. Marriage statistics from 2017 indicate that childless married couples are happier.
Although having children is fulfilling, studies show that it might negatively impact marital relationships. According to 5,000 participants of a latest survey, childless couples are the happiest. The probable explanation is that couples with children are pressured into feeling perfectly complete since they have everything there is to have in life, but the truth is that having kids is stressful as well, and while not regretting having them, some couples probably miss their marriage as it used to be, according to unhappy marriage statistics.
26. The happiest marriages are comprised of the oldest child and the youngest child.
Did you know that your birth order might determine both your marital and professional success? According to statistics, first-borns and last-borns make the happiest couples.
The reason being, one person in this relationship is used to being taken care of, whereas the other enjoys (or is at least used to) taking care of the others.
In the US, what percentage of marriages end up in divorce?
It has been estimated that nearly 50% of all marriages in the US end up in either divorce or separation. Furthermore, roughly 41% of all first marriages end up in divorce.
What percentage of the population is married?
As per the reports, the number of single adults in the US has increased and it is larger than ever before. 2017 statistics show that there were 110.6 million unmarried people aged over 18, which is 45.25% of the overall adult US population.
What percentage of people marry their first love?
There haven’t been too many surveys examining this, but according to one from 2014, conducted by YouGov UK, out of 46% of married British adults, 27% are married to their first love. Despite these kinds of marriages being fairly uncommon, partners report high satisfaction, claiming they “are definitely still in love” and “have never thought about leaving their partner.”
How long is the average marriage?
Well, if we look at the numbers, the average US marriage lasts for about seven years (before ending in divorce). As for the global figures, the average length of a marriage union varies from country to country. For instance, in Italy, married couples stay married for an average of 18 years before separating; the divorce rate is approximately 31%. In Russian, on the other hand, the divorce rate is closer to 60%.
What percent of married couples are happy?
(PR News Wire)
According to a recent report (“The Happiness Index: Love and Relationships in America”) obtained by Harris Interactive, up to 64% of Americans claim they are “very happy” with their spouses, and approximately 50% report being satisfied with their sex lives.
A lifelong commitment to another person brings inevitable challenges, and there is no universal recipe for keeping your marriage happy and fulfilling (all of the time). Still, some couples seem to have it all figured out; quality communication is the essence of a successful marriage they say. What’s also important is maintaining other human relationships outside marriage, pursuing individual passions, being aware of what is not worth fighting over, and simply — caring. Hopefully, our marriage statistics painted a clearer picture of today’s perception of marriage and its values both in the US and across the globe.