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What is the usual age of marriage?

The average age at which people get married has been increasing over the past few decades. There are a few key factors that have contributed to this trend:

Delaying Marriage to Focus on Education and Career

One of the biggest reasons people are getting married later is to pursue higher education and establish a career first. In 1970, only 8% of women ages 25-29 had a college degree. Today that number is over 40%. More women want financial independence and success in a career before considering marriage.

Men are also staying in school longer and taking more time to be financially stable before marriage. The expectation that the husband will be the primary breadwinner still influences men to establish a career before marrying.

Rise of Cohabitation

Today it is much more culturally acceptable for couples to live together and have children before marriage, or even in lieu of marriage. In the 1960s less than 1% of couples lived together before marriage. Now over 70% do. Couples are taking more time to test compatibility before committing to marriage.

Delaying Parenthood

The average age at which women have their first child has also risen over the past few decades, from 21 in the early 1970s to 26 today. With higher enrollment in education, more women are delaying parenthood. Partners often want to accomplish other goals and establish financial security before having children.

New Social Norms

Cultural attitudes have shifted to be more accepting of marriage later in life. What was once considered “left on the shelf” at 30 years old, is now very common. Marrying in the early 20s is no longer the expectation or social norm.

Average Marriage Age

So what is the usual or average age of first marriage today? Here’s a look at the current data:


  • In 2020, the average age for first marriage was 28.1 years old.
  • In 1990, the average age was 24.5.
  • In 1980, the average age was 22.


  • In 2020, the average age for first marriage was 30.4 years old.
  • In 1990, the average age was 26.5.
  • In 1980, the average age was 24.7.

The tables below further summarize the trend toward later marriage over the past decades:

Year Average Age at First Marriage
2020 Women: 28.1 Men: 30.4
2010 Women: 26.3 Men: 28.4
2000 Women: 25.0 Men: 26.8
1990 Women: 24.5 Men: 26.5
1980 Women: 22.0 Men: 24.7
Year % Married by Age 30
2020 Women: 19% Men: 29%
2010 Women: 27% Men: 29%
2000 Women: 36% Men: 38%
1990 Women: 54% Men: 60%
1980 Women: 76% Men: 74%


While people married much younger in past decades, today the average age of first marriage is in the late 20s for women and late 20s to early 30s for men. This reflects major social changes as people now tend to pursue more education and financial independence before considering marriage. The cultural norms have also shifted, so getting married in the 30s or later is now widely accepted.