People who get married are happier than those who don’t, according to an analysis of 286,000 people. This is unsurprising considering divorce rates have been dropping constantly for years. But now, West Virginia has been revealed as the state where couples stay married the longest. So just how does the state’s marriage statistics compare to the rest of the country’s?
Best & worst states for marriage
In West Virginia, the median length of marriage is 22 and a half years. This is much higher than the national average which legaljobs reports to be just 8.2 years. In joint second place is Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin. Couples in these states stay married for a median time of 22.1 years. But in some states marriages last for a lot less time. Wedded couples in the District of Columbia have the shortest marriages at just 11.1 years. While the second shortest marriages in the country occur in Alaska. Here the median length of marriage is 15.8 years.
It’s not much of a shock that marriages in West Virginia outlast all others. West Virginia is one of the most religious states in America. 78% of West Virginian adults identify as Christians and 3% are of a non-Christian faith. Religion plays a big role in the success of a marriage. A recent analysis by Christianity Today found that religious people are less likely to divorce. This is because religion discourages premarital cohabitation which is a big risk factor for divorce. Research has found that women who cohabitate before marriage are 1.31 times more likely to get divorced. Instead, religion persuades couples to work on forming a strong bond together before progressing their relationship and getting married. Couples therefore get to grow their trust for one another, have fun together, and support one another without the pressure of living together. It also gives them the chance to do and grow their own interests, so they don’t lose sight of who they are.
Despite long-lasting marriages in West Virginia and a high number of religious people, they do still divorce and remarry. WBoy reports that 5.9% of West Virginians have married three times or more. This puts the state in the top 10 for multiple marriages and above the national average where just 3% of people have married three times or more. Residents in West Virginia are able to fit in multiple lengthy marriages because they tend to marry at a young age. The average is 26 years old for women and 29 years old for men. Again, this is younger than the average age across the U.S. which is 31 for females and 33 for males.
There’s a big difference in marriage lengths across America. While West Virginia has some impressive stats, divorce rates and remarriage are high. Therefore, it’s possible for a marriage anywhere in the country to stand the test of time.