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Best and Worst States for Marriage

Best and Worst States for Marriage

Love is Making a Comeback Post Pandemic But Marriage Rates Show Long-Term Decline-

After hitting an historic low during the pandemic, love is making a comeback in America with nearly 2.1 million weddings in 2022. Indeed, the marriage rate grew to 6.2 marriages per 1,000 Americans – the highest total since 2018, according to newly released data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


However, since the turn of the century, marriage has steadily declined in the U.S. The marriage rate in 2000 was significantly higher at 8.2 per 1,000. Americans are also waiting until they are older to marry. The median age for men to get married for the first time is 30.2, up from 26.8 at the turn of the century. For women, that age has risen from 25.1 in 2000 to 28.4 today. 

There are myriad reasons for these shifts. People are waiting until they have more financial and career stability before getting married, women have more economic independence than previous generations, gender roles are evolving, and there is less of a stigma around being single. However, marriage remains a bedrock of American society, and the state of American marriage varies considerably across the country. 

To help understand this phenomenon, GRWN Diamonds analyzed the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Census Bureau from 2000 to 2022 in all 50 states and D.C. The complete methodology with links to all sources can be found at the bottom.

The following topics will be address:

  • The best and worst states for marriage currently
  • Where marriage rates have declined the most since 2000
  • The age when people marry in every state today versus 2010
  • How the U.S. compares to other nations
     Key Findings:
    • 5 Best Places in America for Marriage Today: Nevada, the “Marriage Capital of the World” ranks No. 1 with 25.9 marriages per 1,000 people. Hawaii ranks No. 2 (14.4), Utah and Montana are tied at No. 3 (9.9), and D.C. ranks No. 5 (8.3).
    • 5 States Where Marriage Declined the Most Since 2000: Nevada (64.1%), Louisiana (59.3%), Tennessee (52.9%), Arkansas (48.7%), and New Mexico (47.5%).
    • Only 3 Places Saw Marriage Rise Since 2000: D.C (+69.4%), Montana (+35.6%), and Connecticut (5.3%).
    • Median Age for Marriage Rose in Every State Since 2010: Men are getting married at age 30.2 (up from 26.8 in 2010), women at 28.4 today (up from 25.1 since 2010).
    • Same-Sex Marriage Rates Rising: 58% of same-sex couples living together are married, up from 25.7% in 2010.
    •  U.S. No. 7 Highest Marriage Rate Among 38 Nations Analyzed: Only Cyprus, Hungary, Turkey, Latvia, Lithuania, and Israel had higher marriage rates. 

    Best and Worst States for Marriage Today

    According to the most recent CDC data through the year 2022, Nevada retains its moniker as the “Marriage Capital of the World” boasting the highest marriage rates in the nation with 25.9 marriages per 1,000 people. Hawaii ranks No. 2 (14.4), Utah and Montana are tied at No. 3 (9.9), and our nation’s capital ranks No. 5 (8.3) 

    The five worst states are led by Louisiana at No. 1 with only 3.7 marriages per 1,000 residents. New Mexico ranks No. 2 (4.2), Illinois ranks No. 3 (4.9), Maryland ranks No. 4 (5), and three states are tied for No. 5: Massachusetts, New Jersey and Delaware (5.1).

    Where Marriage Rates Have Plummeted the Most Since 2000

    While more Americans are postponing marriage until they’re older, others are putting it off entirely. All but three states have seen a decline in marriage rates since 2000, but the trend has been sharper in some states than others. The biggest drop-offs have been in Nevada (-64.1%), Louisiana (-59.3%), Tennessee (-52.9%), Arkansas (-48.7%), and New Mexico (-47.5%).

    Despite its decline, however, Nevada still has the highest marriage rate in the U.S., at 25.9 per 1,000 people – underscoring the enduring appeal of getting hitched in Las Vegas. State marriage rates are tracked based on where people got married, not where they live.

    On the other end of the spectrum, there are three places where the marriage rate has actually risen: Washington, D.C. (69.4%), Montana (35.6%), and Connecticut (5.3%). It’s been relatively stable in California, falling just 1.7% since 2000. Apart from Nevada, the places with the highest marriage rates today are Hawaii (14.4), Utah (9.9), Montana (9.9), and Washington, D.C. (8.3). With beautiful views aplenty, it’s no surprise people are choosing to celebrate their vows out West.

    People Are Getting Married Later in Life

    Since the turn of the century, Americans have been waiting until they are older to get married for the first time. The average age for a man’s first marriage in 2023 was 30.2 years old, up from 26.8 years old in 2000.  For women, the average age in 2023 was 28.4 years old, up from 25.1 years old in 2000.

    While Americans overall are waiting longer to tie the knot, marriages have always skewed older in some parts of the country. In 2010, the average man got married at 30 or older in five places – Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Washington, D.C. – but by 2022, that number had jumped to 29.

    Women tend to get married a bit younger, and in 2022, just six areas saw the average woman getting married for the first time at 30 or older: California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, and Washington, D.C.

    Between 2010 and 2022, the five states that have seen the greatest increase in age at first marriage for men are Arizona (+3.3 years) Alaska (+3.2 years), Colorado (+2.9 years), Nevada (+2.8 years), and California (+2.6 years). For women, the top five are Alaska (+2.9 years), Arizona (+2.8 years), California (+2.8 years), Rhode Island (+2.6 years), and Nevada (+2.5 years).

    Same-Sex Marriages On the Rise

    Not all American relationships are in decline. Across the U.S., the number of same-sex households reached nearly 1.3 million in 2022, up from about 780,000 in 2005. Since 2016 – the year after the Supreme Court declared same-sex marriage in every state – these couples have been more likely to be married than unmarried.

    In 2021, 3.6% of all new marriages were among same-sex couples, with marriages between women more common than those among men, according to an analysis by the National Center for Family & Marriage Research.

    U.S. vs. the World

    Despite the declines in marriage rates, the U.S. still has one of the highest rates in the OECD, ranking seventh out of the 42 countries tracked in 2020, the most recent year with data. Only Cyprus (8.9), Hungary (6.9), Turkey (5.8), Latvia (5.6), Lithuania (5.5), and Israel (5.3) had a higher rate per 1,000 people than the U.S. (5.1).

    Several countries saw their marriage rates plummet during the pandemic, according to the OECD. Ireland, Italy, Portugal, and Spain each saw declines of about 50%, while rates fell by about 33% in Australia and France, and about 10% in Germany, Japan, and South Korea. Hungary was the only country to see an uptick, but it was only 3%.


    After hitting a record low during COVID-19, love in America is making a comeback.  Marriage rates are the highest they have been since 2018. However, longer term trends show that marriage rates are still historically low and have been steadily declining in America since the turn of the century. Marriage remains a bedrock of American society as the U.S. remains one of the best countries for marriage globally. Romantic partnerships today can come in many forms and there are many ways to navigate intimacy and commitment, with or without tying the knot.


    We compiled the most recent federal and international data to assess the state of marriage across the U.S. Oklahoma’s 2000 marriage rate was unavailable, so it was not included in the overall ranking of states with the biggest changes in marriage rates over time. Regarding the international marriage rates, data is from 2020 for all countries except Cyprus, Israel, the U.K. (2019 data), and Chile and Argentina (2018 data). Here’s a closer look at the metrics we used:

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