Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Marriage: Your chances

June is a traditional month for weddings. If you're one of those who has (so far) always been a bridesmaid rather than a bride, did you ever wonder what the odds are that you'll eventually marry? Let's look at the data (from the latest Census Bureau report):
  • The good news is that, by age 40-44, about 87 percent of women have been married at least once.
  • However, that percentage is based on marriage patterns that prevailed 20 or 25 years ago. In 1980 (when the 44-year-old women in the 2006 survey were 18), the median age at first marriage for U.S. women was 22. The current median age at first marriage is 25 for U.S. women. A rise in the median marriage age tends to reduce the likelihood of marriage for any woman who is currently unmarried.
  • The longer you stay single, the less likelihood of you ever marrying. Consider that 4 out 5 women (81%) ages 18-24 have never married, compared to 24% of women ages 30-34, and 13% of women ages 40-44. Thus, if you aren't married by the time you're 25, there is still roughly a 70% likelihood you'll be married within 10 years, and an 84% chance you'll be married by the time you reach your early 40s. On the other hand, if you are among the 1-in-4 women who are still unmarried by the time they reach their early 30s, the odds are against you -- there's only a 46% chance you'll be married within 10 years.
Of course, these are just general statistics. Your mileage may vary. But as a general proposition, women who want to marry eventually shouldn't wait until they're 30 to start hunting a groom.

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