Marriage: Are Americans putting off marriage – again? OFFICIAL AL and ‘TIPPER’ GORE WEDDING PHOTO at the National Cathedral in Washington D.C. in the spring of 1970. Al was 22 and Tipper was 21 at the time. They were pretty close to the median age for marriage in their era. Photo in public domain via Wikimedia Commons.If you’re married, how old were you when you took your marriage vows? If you’ve been married more than once, think of your first marriage: How old were you then?

If you married in your late 20s, then you are at what is now the median age for first marriage in the United States, according to the latest U.S. Census figures. Fifty years ago, the median age for first marriage was the early 20s, as the Pew Research Center reports. For decades, age at first marriage has been rising in America.

Delayed marriage helps to explain, in part, the shrinking number of Americans who have ever married. As we’ve discussed this week, barely half of all adult Americans are now married.

Is delayed marriage a new phenomenon?
It’s not, according to economists who have tracked age at first marriage since 1800. Age at first marriage goes up and down in long cycles. It might surprise you (as it did me) to learn that today’s median age at first marriage is about the same as it was 100 years ago. Between 1800 and 1900, age at first marriage slowly rose, peaking in 1900, and then slowly declined until 1960. Since 1960, it slowly rose again to the peak it’s at today.

Are you surprised to learn that delayed marriage isn’t a new phenomenon?

What’s the best age to get married?

If you’re married, how did age affect your choice?


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Originally published at, an online experiment in civil dialogue on American values.

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