This is the Average Age of Marriage in the U.S.
2022 was a boom for the wedding industry and marked a return to "pre-pandemic" norms including the average age to get married in the US. The pandemic had a major impact on all things weddings—inclusive of a significant increase in the average age of marriage in 2021 as many couples had to postpone their weddings making them older when they finally tied the knot. While the national marital age has steadily increased over the last decade, according to The Knot Real Weddings Study, which surveyed nearly 12, 000 couples in 2022, the average age of marriage in the United States decreased in 2022. This decline takes us back to the pre-pandemic levels of 2018 as the American respondents who married between January 1 and December 31, 2022, didn't have to postpone their weddings, meaning they were able to get married as planned.
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The 2022 Average Age of Marriage in the US
In 2022, the average age of marriage for female participants was 30 (down 3 years from 2021), while male respondents married at age 32 (also down 3 years from 2021). The average age of marriage in the US, therefore, falls at 31 years which is down one year from 2019 and 2020 , when the average marital age for a couple was 32.
The majority of participants (91%), reported it was their first marriage and the marrying age is influenced by a variety of factors. Overall societal behavioral patterns, including an evolving workforce and a stronger sense of self-sufficiency for this demographic, play a role in influencing the average age of marriage in the US. The decline in age by a year as compared to 2019 and 2020 does mark a change in this trend although it's up a year from the 2018 average of 30.
There is a new factor that is starting to come into play—that is the slightly larger Gen Z cohort (born between 1997 and 2004) entering the marriage market as the eldest members turned 25 in 2022. It's too early to say whether this cohort will significantly alter the average age of getting married in the U.S—on average, couples are continuing to marry in their early thirties according to our study.
"We're realizing that the brain doesn't fully develop until people are around 25 years of age, which is very different from how people used to think about adulthood, which was 18 or college age," says New York-based clinical psychologist Dr. Lara Friedrich. "People are taking longer to find themselves, which is a good thing. By the time people are getting married, they have a better sense of who they really are, meaning they're more secure in their career and their sense of self the older they get. And that helps them make good decisions with their life partner."
"Life is not so traditional anymore," adds Kathleen Entwistle, Private Wealth Advisor and Managing Director of Sports and Entertainment at Morgan Stanley. "Many couples are both working, therefore they are getting married for the first time later."
So how exactly does the average age of marriage impact weddings? Year over year, the Real Weddings Study finds that more couples are contributing to the total cost of the wedding, as opposed to solely relying on parents on either side to financially support the nuptials. "The finances of each family can also be a factor," Entwistle speculates. "When the average age of marriage increases, couples tend to take more ownership in both the details of the wedding, as well as the sharing of the expenses."
The Average Age to Get Married By Region
Not-so-surprising is that the average age of couples varies according to region. Among 2022 couples, the average age of marriage was highest in the Northeast (32), Mid-Atlantic (32) and Midwest (32) and lowest in the South/Southeast at 30. Regionality certainly has its impact on a variety of factors related to wedding planning, including the average cost of a wedding, the average number of guests and, of course, the average age of marriage.
"Even micro-regional influence counts," says Dr. Friedrich, who also attributes education level and socioeconomics as top factors that play into the overall formula of marriage age. "And if you work with clients who are religious, there might be the possibility of lower averages in the age of marriage." See how it breaks down per region below.
- Northeast/New England: 32
- Mid-Atlantic: 32
- Midwest: 32
- South/Southeast: 30
- Southwest: 31
- West: 31
The Average Age to Get Married By State
According to our 2022 Real Weddings Study data, couples based in certain states across the U.S. will skew based on locale, depending on towns and proximity to close friend groups. "There's research on this that people are very influenced by their peers," says Dr. Friedrich. "There's a very real peer effect where people see their friends and inner circle getting married and that can cause more pressure. People's influence on each other and their social circles can be very strong."
State-by-state average age of getting married in 2022 breakdown:
D.C. (Metro DC, Maryland, Northern Virginia), 33
New Hampshire, 30
New Jersey, 33
New Mexico 30
New York, 33
North Carolina, 31
North Dakota & South Dakota, 29
Rhode Island, 33
South Carolina, 32
West Virginia/Virginia, 32
Success of Millennial Marriages
Millennial marital success and divorce rates are still being reviewed by researchers, but there is one strong habit to properly form from the onset of marriage (and the relationship itself). "Communication is key," says Dr. Friedrich. "Communicating with each other that allows you to listen, avoiding defensiveness, criticism, stonewalling and contempt are four things that lead couples down the road to divorce, according to the Gottman Institute [a research-based theory that focuses on marital stability]. Taking time to speak and communicate in a way that is meaningful can be useful."