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What Percentage of Married Couples Were Born in The Same State, Different State, or Another Country?

Brian Knop and Lydia Anderson

Changes in both marriage and migration patterns over the last century have not only shaped but reflected shifts in the social, political and economic landscape of the United States.

For example, the median age at first marriage has been increasing for several decades, in part because of women’s rising levels of education and growing presence in the work force.

The share of women and men who are married has decreased, while the percentage who have either never married or are divorced has increased. 

The share of women and men who are married has decreased, while the percentage who have either never married or are divorced has increased.

Immigration trends over the last 40 years reveal a steady flow towards certain regions of the country, such as the South, which has experienced a continuous flow of movers from abroad as well as from other parts of the United States.

The birthplaces of married couples show how common it is to marry someone born in the same state, a different state or outside of the United States.

These trends both across time and across states show how time and place shape marriage patterns.

Using information about place of birth and current state of residence, the interactive data visualization below explores migration trends among married couples from 1900 to 2018. It shows the share of married couples born in the same state or elsewhere.

In 2018:

  • 34.1% of same-sex and opposite-sex married couple households lived in the state where both spouses were born.
  • 21.7% included both spouses born in states other than their state of residence.
  • 21.2% had one spouse born in the couple’s state of residence and one born in a different state.
  • 14.5% had both spouses born outside the United States.
  • 4.4% had one spouse born in a state other than their state of residence and one foreign-born.
  • 4.0% had one spouse born in the couple’s state of residence and one foreign-born.

How do the birthplace trends of married couples in your state compare to the national estimates? How have they changed over time? Select your state in the drop-down box on page 1 of the visual to find out.

To see the most common countries of origin among married couples that have at least one foreign-born spouse and how that list has changed over time, use the slider on page 2 of the visual.

 

Brian Knop is a sociologist in the Census Bureau’s Center for Economic Studies.

Lydia Anderson is a family demographer in the Fertility and Family Statistics Branch.

 

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