More young people are postponing marriage or not getting married.

Young couples, particularly those with college educations, are postponing marriage and having children until they are in their thirties or even forties. Between 1980 and 2015, the number of marriages per year in Massachusetts declined by 25 percent, from about 49,000 to fewer than 36,000.62

The Massachusetts marriage rate has been consistently lower than the U.S. rate, ranging from 70 to 85 percent of the national rate. In the year 2000, the median age at first marriage was later in Massachusetts – 29 for men, 27 for women – than in any other state in the Union.63 As of 2015, those ages for marriage in MA have risen to 31 and 29, respectively. Between 2006 and 2015, the proportion of 25- to 34-year-old women in Massachusetts who were currently married fell from 42 percent to 36 percent, while the proportion of never-married women rose from 48 to 55 percent.64

At the same time, there has been an increase in the number of pregnancies among unmarried women with relatively low levels of education.  In the past, many of these women would have married before or shortly after the birth or put the child up for adoption. Now many are giving birth and raising the child on their own, without getting married.65 Hence, the decline in the state’s marriage rate can largely be attributed to two demographics that formerly would have been counted among the married.