October 2, 2014

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. For those in the “marriage market,” location matters. Pew Research Center has compiled census data on the number of unmarried men and women ages 25 to 34 in many of the nation’s metropolitan areas. We’ve also sorted the data by employment status. Finding a spouse with a steady job is a high priority for 78% of never-married women who may want to get married in the future(and 46% of men), though the pool of employed young men has shrunk.

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.

Can't find your metro area?

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.