It’s Not You, It’s Your Hometown

posted: 05/15/15
by: Courtney Reimer
marriage map
New York Times

If you're not yet married and would like to be, where you're from might be to blame.

A fascinating new study and infographic by The New York Times shows that where you live might have a strong impact on when you end up tying the knot.

The map above shows, by geographic location, how likely a person is to be married by age 26 -- the places with the darkest purple are the ones with the most people married at age 26; the ones with the dark red have the fewest. If 26 feels young to you, as it does to me, you're probably living in a major city. Turns out the areas with the lowest marriage rates at age 26 are predominately urban areas such as New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston and Washington. States like predominantly Mormon Utah and southern Idaho show some of the highest marriage rates by age 26.

(You can get a larger, zoomable version of the above infographic with details by individual county clicking here.)

But it's not just the age of marriage that's affected by your locale -- it turns out that where you live affects your overall likelihood of getting married. To quote the article:

The data, which covers more than five million people who moved as children in the 1980s and 1990s, suggests that children who move from, say, Idaho to Chicago really do become less likely to marry, even if the numbers can't explain exactly why these patterns exist.

An extra bummer for those of you hoping to marry and living in the New York area: there's something called the "New York Effect." According to this study, "if we boiled down the list to only the country's 50 largest counties, the top five in discouraging marriage would all be in the New York area."

So, if you're looking to say yes to the dress and settle down, you might want to look at states like Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma (in addition to Utah and Idaho), all of which have counties that report marriage-by-26 as being "very likely."