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Comforting Marriage Statistics

by Sam Eye

Here are some interesting marriage statistics, and also an announcement about the next HUS movie discussion.

First, check out this wedding photo. It’s courtesy of Daisy Beatty, a longtime HUS reader and full-time photographer who works out of NYC. I plan to feature more of her work in future posts.


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She has taken incredible photographs of weddings, pregnancy and families – they’re amazing! Check out her work here

Marriage Age Statistics

We know that today people are getting married later than in previous decades. We also know that socioeconomic status predicts both the occurrence of marriage as well as its likelihood of success. It can be confusing to interpret all the data and make sense of it on a personal level. So when I see a nice, clear graph.

This is for the whole population – not broken out by gender, education level, etc. Still it’s a dramatic presentation of trends over the last 50 years.

Key points:

1. The percentage of married 20 year-olds has gone from nearly 40% to about 15% – I think we can agree that this is a good thing.

2. Just over half of the population is married by age 30.

3. The married percentage jumps from about 55% to 72% between the ages of 30 and 35.

4. From ages 35-40, growth in the marriage rate slows dramatically.

5. 80% of 40 year-olds have married – for the college educated that number is bound to be much higher.

Key Points:

1. Nearly everyone marries. This does not speak to the quality of relationships, but fears that one will never marry, even in one’s 40s or later, are usually overblown.

2. Age 59 is where the intact first marriage and failed first marriage groups are about the same size, representing 42% of the population. Keep in mind that the red line includes successful second+ marriages.

3. The widowed population really takes off around age 65.

All in all, what these marriage statistics say to me that an educated single person should not feel stressed out about finding a partner in their 20s. That may be ideal for other reasons. But the idea that a woman hits the wall at 30 is ridiculous – and certainly not borne out by the data.

In my view, you’re much better off taking your time to choose a partner carefully, and should resist any urge to settle for someone you’re not crazy about for fear of never finding “the one.” I believe that even in mating, we make our own luck.

Movie Discussion

The next movie discussion will take place next Monday, June 22. Continuing from our last discussion of Before Sunrise, we’ll do Before Sunset this time.

A sequel to “Before Sunrise,” this film starts nine years later as Jesse (Ethan Hawke) travels across Europe giving readings from a book he wrote about the night he spent in Vienna with Celine (Julie Delpy). After his reading in Paris, Celine finds him, and they spend part of the day together before Jesse has to again leave for a flight. They are both in relationships now, and Jesse has a son, but as their strong feelings for each other start to return, both confess a longing for more.

Before Sunset received the same warm critical appraisal as its predecessor and has a 95% favorable rating at Rotten Tomatoes. New York Times film critic A.O. Scott has called the trilogy “The great romantic epic of a generation.”