Report Summary

One of the most important social developments of our time is the recent rise in age at first marriage, which now stands at 27 for women and 29 for men--a historic high. Delayed marriage in America has helped to bring the divorce rate down since 1980 and increased the economic fortunes of college-educated women, according to Knot Yet: The Benefits and Costs of Delayed Marriage in America, a new report from the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, and the RELATE Institute. But another important consequence of delayed marriage is that most Americans without college degrees now have their first child before they marry. By contrast, the vast majority of college-educated men and women still put childbearing after marriage. Knot Yet explores the causes and consequences of this revolution in family life, especially the ways that delayed marriage is connected to the welfare of twentysomethings, their children, and the nation as a whole.


The Latest



Could 20-Something’s Parents Be Behind the Slower Path to Marriage?

by Barbara Ray

  A 2012 study finds that college students think 25 years old is the “right age” to get married, while a majority of parents feel 25 is still a little too soon. “The assumption has been that the younger generation… More



Bucking the Trend and Marrying Young

by Amber Lapp

One married friend of mine, who just completed a master’s program and had her son two days before my son was born, told me that one of her grad school study buddies would often give her a hard time about… More



The Costs to Society and Children of Unintended Pregnancy

by Barbara Ray

Nearly half of all pregnancies in the United States are unintended, and nearly half of all births to unmarried twenty-something women are unintended. While some of these “woops” pregnancies occur within marriage, a high share are to cohabiting couples or… More



Could Pregnancy be a Reason NOT to Get Married?

by David Lapp

A shotgun marriage today carries a different stigma– of marrying for all the wrong reasons.   In “Promises I Can Keep,”  Kathryn Edin and Maria Kefalas find that among the poor single mothers they interviewed,  “Nearly everyone has a morality tale to… More



True Love Need Not Wait

by Barbara Ray

Coauthor of the Knot Yet report, W. Bradford Wilcox, adds some nuance to the typical story about early marriage in his post at Huffington Post this morning. “20something marriage is a definite no-no in the eyes of many journalists, academics, parents,… More