This Survey Predicts When You'll Get Married


Gabrielle White

Worried you’ll be alone forever? Or are all your friends getting married and having babies? If you’re in your 20s or 30s, it can feel like the whole world is sprinting toward these milestones. That’s probably because, well, it’s kind of true, according to  Nathan Yau’s analysis  of the 2014 American Community Survey data.

Most people marry by age 40

The graphs here help us see the percentage of people who have never been married by the time they reach a certain age. As shown above, most people get married for the first time in their 20s and 30s, and the never-married curve falls steeply during those years. Right – tell us something we don’t know.

Ethnicity predicts when you’ll get married

The story that’s easily obscured in the big picture is that the timing of marriage depends greatly on your ethnicity.

These data on marriage may reveal the ripple effect of the well-documented and utterly disheartening online dating bias black women face: 67% of black women have never married at age 30, compared to 41% of their hispanic counterparts, 36% of white women, and 33% of asian women.

The curves of women of other ethnicities are steeper initially and flatten out sooner, much closer to average.

Men’s rates of never having been married are about the same but delayed by 2 to 3 years.

Educated + Employed = Attractive

In general, people with a high school degree (both genders) are less likely to be married than those with bachelor’s or advanced degrees.

People with a job and more education tend to get taken off the market more quickly. This tendency gets amplified by the fact that those more educated people are marrying each other.

If that weren’t enough confirmation that people are laughably stereotypical in how they choose partners, employment status affects the genders just as predictably. Men who were unemployed at the time of the survey were less likely to have ever married; for women, employment status doesn’t seem to matter quite as much.

Almost everyone still marries, eventually

All of this is to say that you’re likely to get married. For many, it’s just happening later.

Pew Research Center predicts that 25% of today’s adults still won’t be married by their mid-40’s and 50’s because they are delaying marriage. 30% say they haven’t found the right person, 27% say they aren’t financially stable enough and 22% say they aren’t ready to settle down.

But if we look at the trends from the survey data above, only about 5% of us will never marry by the time we’re in our 80s. I guess it’s never too late for love.

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