Of late, and perhaps it is simply the circles I wade through, I have been hearing that there is an imbalance between the decrease in the number of men who wish to get married and the number of women who want to get married.

The most recent marriage figures I've seen do suggest that marriage desirability is decreasing: there are fewer people getting married today than there were 20 years ago (citation needed), but there are more people living together.

Unfortunately, most of the sites I have seen discuss why there is a discrepancy without justifying the belief with statistics.

My question, then, is, "Is there a study or group of studies which suggest that the declining occurrence of marriage is caused by a decrease in willingness of men to marry instead of a decrease in willingness in both parties?"

Some references for the claim:

  • Please provide some references to places where this claim is being made.
    – Oddthinking
    Commented Sep 30, 2014 at 17:13
  • 1
    @Oddthinking Added three references. I can add more, and some specific quotes if necessary. Commented Sep 30, 2014 at 17:55
  • This also seems a bit geographically broad. If it's the USA you're interested in, limiting the question would help. I know that this is definitely occurring in Japan, for example, but you may not be interested in that.
    – John Lyon
    Commented Sep 30, 2014 at 22:18
  • 1
    @jozzas That is a very good point. I see that the tag [united-states] was added to my question. Is that sufficient? Commented Oct 1, 2014 at 10:49
  • The only data I was able to find so far wasn't a real study but a "survey of OKCupid users". I don't even wanna link to it or describe the findings due to a host of reasons why that sort of survey is complete and utter crap.
    – user5341
    Commented Oct 7, 2014 at 16:34

1 Answer 1


The share of young men (ages 18 to 34) who say that having a successful marriage is one of the most important things in their lives has dropped six percentage points since 1997, from 35% to 29%. For women, the opposite effect occurred, as the share voicing this opinion rose from 28% to 37%. (Pew Research).

Note that is is age-limited, and "expect a successful marriage" can be parsed quite liberally (e.g. may exclude people who want to marry but expect an unsuccessful marriage; OR may include people who don't want to marry but think that if they do, it will be successful).

There was another survey (or 2) of people at OKCupid and/or match.com, several thousand people sized. Their methodologies looked suspect enough that I didn't bother citing either (for one thing, any respondents to dating online site survey are already self-selected into a giant bias. People who don't want to marry are all on Tinder or whatnot :)

  • Wow. Cool. Good info, so it looks like the answer is "yes". Commented Oct 7, 2014 at 16:52
  • @cwallenpoole - the answer is "may be, among one demographics, based on one survey, if you squint hard enough to parse the results a specific way and not another".
    – user5341
    Commented Oct 7, 2014 at 17:05

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