The average age and education levels of Americans getting married for the first time is on the increase.
American men and women are waiting longer to get married and tend to be better educated when they tie the knot, according to a recent Census Bureau report that has important implications for the financial welfare of American households.
“Education level and marital status are two factors shaping a household’s ability to build wealth and maintain its financial position,” according to Catherine McBreen, president of Millionaire Corner, which tracks the attitudes and behaviors of affluent investors. She explains, “We know from our research that there’s a strong correlation between a lasting marriage and financial stability. High levels of education are also strongly associated with building wealth.”
Millionaire Corner research shows that the vast majority of wealthy Americans are married or widowed. A December survey found that 83 percent of Millionaires with up to $25 million are married and 7 percent are widowed. Nearly all - 95 percent - have bachelor’s degree and more than two-thirds have gone on to earn professional degrees and other advanced degrees. Non-Millionaire investors are less likely to have college degrees (66 percent), and less likely to be married (71) percent or widowed (4 percent).
The median age of Americans entering their first marriage has increased by 6 percent over the last four decades, according to the Census Bureau report titled “Marital Events of Americans: 2009.
By 2009, the median age of Americans entering their first marriage reached 28.4 for men and 26.5 for women. In 1970, the median was 22.5 years for men and 20.6 years for women. This average rose to 25.5 years for men and 23.7 years for women by 1988. Forty-four percent of men and 42 percent of women who married in 2009, the latest year that data is available, were ages 25 to 34.
Most notably, the proportion of women who first married when they were teenagers has declined considerably, the Census Bureau said. By 2009, only 7 percent of women marrying for the first time were teenagers, compared to 1970 when 42 percent of women marrying for the first time were teenagers.
“Overall many more women married at younger ages in 1970 compared with 2009,” the report said. In 1970 most women - 88 percent - had a first marriage by the age of 24. In 2009 that share shrank to 38 percent.
Those who married in the last 12 months studied generally had higher levels of education than the overall population. They were also more likely to be working and living in households making $75,000 or more a year. High-net worth Millionaires - those with up to $25 million in net worth - say their education is one of the top two factors contributing to their wealth.