Dr. Helen

Is Around 30 the Best Age to Marry?

Somewhere around that age is best according to a new analysis on the topic:

If you hope to avoid divorce, what’s the ideal age to get married? For years, it seemed like the longer you waited to marry, the better. That’s because the relationship between age at marriage and divorce risk was almost linear: The older you were, the lower the chances of divorce. Although teens still face an elevated divorce risk relative to older adults, my analysis of more recent data shows that those who tie the knot after their early thirties are now more likely to divorce than those who marry in their late twenties.

But what was true for decades no longer seems to be the case. I analyzed data collected between 2006 and 2010 from the National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG). The trick is to use statistical methods that permit nonlinear relationships to emerge (click here for more information on these methods). 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 percent.

Does the experience of staying unmarried well past the age of 30 somehow make people unfit for a lasting marriage?