By Amy Kramer of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy
The countdown is on: Maci and Taylor are getting ready to walk down the aisle. And while it may seem like we’ve waited forever to see Maci as a bride -- remember when she and Ryan were engaged back in the first season of Teen Mom and then when she and Kyle talked about marriage a few years later? -- at age 25, she’s actually younger than the average first-time bride.
In the United States today, the average age a woman first gets married is 27. For men, it’s 29. But it hasn’t always been that way. The age of first marriage has been creeping up bit by bit. Back in 1970, it was more like 20 or 21 for women and 23 for men. In 1980, it was 22 and 24. In 1990, it was about 24 and 26. In 2000, it was 25 and almost 27, and in 2010 it was 26 and 28. This is one of the major demographic and social changes of the past half-century.
One of the benefits of delaying marriage is that it has helped bring the divorce rate down. Divorce has been on the decline since the early 1980s. The old statistic that half of all marriages end in divorce isn’t true anymore.
Marriage rates overall are declining too. Back in 1960, only about 9% of adults age 25 and older had never been married. Now it’s more than 20%, although these days about one in four unmarried adults lives with his or her partner.
Another consequence of getting married later is that a majority of young parents now have their first child before they get married. By age 25 -- Maci's age -- 44% of women have given birth, while only 38% have gotten married.
Love, marriage, baby carriage -- but not necessarily in that order anymore. All we know is that we’re excited to see Maci and Taylor tie the knot!