Marriage by the numbers: when, and where, we say 'I do'

In the demographics of love, it seems the more things change, the more they stay the same. Just in time for Valentine's Day, the Census Bureau compiled some love-ly facts:

Bachelors aplenty - for the young

A good man may be hard to find - but a young man sure isn't. For every 100 unmarried US women in their 20s, there are 115 single men of the same age. Even after both sexes hit 30, single men abound - 109 of them per 100 single women. But women seeking men should enjoy the bounty while it lasts: For 45- to 64-year-olds, demographics swing back to a surplus of women, with 69 single men for every 100 single women. For those 65 and over, there's a dramatic plunge, with just 33 unmarried men per 100 female singletons.

Postponing marriage

In 2000, the median age at first marriage in the United States was 25.1 for women and 26.8 for men. For women, that marks a jump of 4.3 years since 1970; for men, it's a dip of about four months since 1996 - but still 3.6 years later than in 1970.

For younger and for poorer ...

Men's inclination to marry younger women is nothing new - or slight: In 2000, just 12 percent of wives were at least two years older than their husbands. In another echo of yore, only 15 percent of married women earned at least $5,000 more than their husbands.

Just (never) married: a rise in the ranks

Thirty-five percent of adults ages 25 to 34 had never been married in 2000: That's 13.3 million people. But by age 44, there was a lot of pairing up, as the ranks of the never-married dipped by half, leaving only 15 percent of people who'd never said "I do."

From 1970 to 2000, the proportion of never-married women ages 30 to 34 more than tripled, from 6 percent to 22 percent. Men saw a similar shift, with 30 percent never married as of 2000, compared to just 9 percent 32 years ago.

Gold bands in 'The Silver State'

Though Nevada languishes in 35th place for most populous state, it's leading the way among other states in the race to the altar. Of the 2.3 million marriages in the US in 2000, Nevada staked its claim to 144,300 of them - coming in fourth after California (196,896), Texas (196,417), and New York (161,984). That status as a marital magnet also gives Nevada an exceptionally low ratio of in-state divorce, with only about one-eighth of marriages that begin in Nevada ending in divorce - at least within state lines.

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