This Is the Best Age to Get Married, According to Science

Updated 09/28/17

A 2014 New York Times article boldly declared that the oft-cited statistic that 50% of marriages end in divorce is a myth—in fact, the article asserted, the divorce surge is a thing of the past. One of three primary reasons given for the drop in divorce was later marriages: "The delay in marriage is part of the story, allowing people more time to understand what they want in a partner and to find one."

Time seemed to be on our side, according to the article's author. Single people in their late 20s and above were welcome to celebrate in their solitude and explore. Getting married in your 30s and later was all of a sudden the prudent approach. 

But fresh caveats may now be on the table. A recent study from the Institute of Family Studies, which analyzed data collected from the National Survey of Family Growth, has found that waiting to get married is only beneficial to a point.

Best Age To Get Married

According to the institute (and conventional wisdom), getting married under the age of 20 carries a risk of divorce within the first five years—a whopping 32%. Between age 20 and 24, the risk is 20%; between 25 and 29, it’s 15%; and between 30 and 34, it’s 14%.

But then the trend reverses: For people ages 35 and up, the divorce risk climbs to 19%. "My data analysis shows that prior to age 32 or so, each additional year of age at marriage reduces the odds of divorce by 11%. However, after that, the odds of divorce increase by 5% per year," writes Nicholas H. Wolfinger, a professor of family and consumer studies and adjunct professor of sociology at the University of Utah.” It appears 32 is the magic number.

What's alarming is that this trend is new; in 1995, data suggested that marrying older lowered your risk of divorce. But now, "beyond a shadow of a doubt, people who marry in their thirties are now at greater risk of divorce than are people who wed in their late 20s," Wolfinger says. When it comes to matters of the heart, science is constantly running to keep up. 

Shop some marriage guidance books below.

If you are making your way down the aisle, we're all about thinking outside the box when it comes to wedding registry options. As for science, do you know anyone for which these findings are true? Sound off below. 

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