Mapping the Marriage Market for Young Adults

The share of American adults who have never been married is at a record high (20%), and young adults are at the leading edge of this national trend. The Pew Research Center has compiled U.S. Census data on the number of unmarried men and women ages 25 to 34 in most of the nation’s metropolitan areas and found that for those in the “marriage market,” location matters.

Fact Tank: The best and worst cities for women looking to marry

Number of men for every 100 women
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Source: Pew Research Center analysis of the 2012 American Community Survey, IPUMS.
Some metro areas not shown.

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Unfortunately, we were not able to calculate ‘marriage market’ statistics for roughly a third of U.S. metro areas (in government speak, metropolitan statistical areas, or MSAs). The main culprit: mismatch between two geographic codes. While we were able to obtain gender ratio data from the 2012 American Community Survey (ACS), the ACS public use data file does not release that information by traditional metro area, or MSA. Because the two sets of geographical boundaries don’t match up perfectly, there are some areas, particularly less populated ones, where the statistics are not available. For more information on the geographic variable used for this analysis, see IPUMS-USA.

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