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The Average Age of Marriage in the U.S. Just Went Down for the First Time in Years… Can You Guess Why?

Published Thursday, Mar. 23rd, 2023


What’s the best age to get married? It depends on who you ask… and outside factors like education and the economy can play a bigger part in when a couple gets married than you might think. 


In fact, the average age to marry just went down for the first time in many years – by about 3 months – and not because couples are falling in love any earlier, but because of the tremendous effect the coronavirus pandemic had on wedding planning. 


During the first year of the pandemic, the average age of a couple on their wedding day decreased by several months, as couples rushed to marry before venues and courthouses were shut down to slow the spread of disease. While a few months might not seem like a lot, this is a significant drop when you consider the 1.7 million weddings performed that year (via USNews). 


Then, in 2021, the average age of newlyweds spiked. This increase captures the impact of delayed weddings during the second half of 2020 and early 2021, when many couples were forced to wait an additional year or more to marry – turning another year older in the meantime. 


And according to The Knot, the average age of marriage dipped again in 2022, when a record number of couples rushed to the altar during the year’s much-anticipated ‘wedding boom.’


Related: Attn Wedding Officiants: 6 Business Tips for the 2022 Wedding Boom


Chart showing the average age of marriage in the U.S., for men and women, originally shared by


The median age at the time of a first marriage has risen steadily for both men and women in the past century. This chart shows an estimated 4 year increase from 1998 to 2021.



Overall, the average age of marriage has increased 


Until recently, the average age for a first marriage in the U.S. had climbed steadily upward without much deviation. 


Both men and women are waiting about four years longer to marry now than they did back in 1998 – 28.6 years old for women (up from 25); and 30.6 years old for men (up from 26.7). (via Statista)


And that’s nearly ten years older than when most couples got married in the 1920s, when the average age was 21.2 years old for women and 24.6 for men. (via Brides)


Related: A Simple Wedding Planning Checklist & Timeline for Busy Couples

But the past three years of pandemic-related restrictions and precautions have caused this upward trend to become less predictable, showing that external factors can play a large role in when couples decide to say ‘I do’ to marriage.


So what’s the best age to marry? And what can we expect to see in terms of average marriage ages in the next few years? If the last century is any indication, the average age for a first marriage will probably increase another year or two before leveling off, and the age gap between when men and women get married will probably continue to shrink.


Why has the average marriage age gone up in the U.S.? 


An increase in marrying age reflects a lot of other important changes in the country: Women have more opportunity to attend college and support themselves financially than ever before, so there’s less rush for them to marry. Both men and women are choosing to have children later in life, which likely slows their walk to the altar. And adherence to rigid religious doctrine about sex and marriage is decreasing with the rise in personal spiritual practices, which means fewer marriages are being formed out of feelings of obligation or religious guilt. 


Related: New Gallup poll shows church membership is down dramatically -- And we know why


Overall, an increase in the average age of marriage in the U.S. can be seen as a positive – with more people getting married when the time is right for them, instead of feeling pressured into it by their family, society, or less-than-romantic practical needs. 




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Happy newlyweds dance outside surrounded by smiling friends and family

Make the wedding ceremony the most important part of your wedding day! Focus on what you value most as a couple, not passing wedding trends. Read the full article here. 



Jessica Levey
Jessica Levey

Lead Staff Writer & Illustrator

Jessica loves exploring the history and magic of ritual, the connections between people and places, and sharing true stories about love and commitment. She's an advocate for marriage equality, LGBTQ+ rights, and individuality, and is an ordained Minister with AMM. When she’s not writing or illustrating for AMM, she enjoys city hikes, fantasy novels, comics, and traveling.

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