Where Are the States Where Locals Most Often Marry Locals?

Data on marriage is only part of the full picture

Wedding rings
Looking at the numbers on states and marriages reveals interesting trends.
Zoriana Stakhniv/Unsplash

Think back to the last time you attended a wedding. If the two people exchanging vows both grew up in the U.S., from which state did each one hail? It’s entirely possible that the two came from opposite sides of the country — or from the same state. But it also begs the question: which states have the most significant number of locals marrying other people who are from there?

If you’ve ever wanted to do a deep dive into this question, Andrew Van Dam at The Washington Post has you covered. Van Dam explored the data on who people who hail from different states are marrying, and what the states are with the highest and lowest levels of locals marrying other locals.

For the record, that would be Michigan and Nevada, respectively.

Those numbers only tell part of the story, though. Van Dam writes that “in-state marriages were holding steady at around 60 percent until 1960” for the entire country; that level has since dropped to closer to 50 percent. He also points to another factor that’s had an impact on the world of marriage: international marriages are increasing relative to interstate marriage.

That said, there’s yet another factor that plays into this as well: where young people from various states are or are not moving. The article features one chart that shows that Texas and Michigan have the highest rates of 18- to 26-year-olds from those states continuing to live there. What’s especially interesting here is that this data doesn’t really line up with any geographical or political sorting; both Wyoming and Delaware feature relatively low numbers of young people staying, for instance.

The data in the paragraph above runs from 2017 through 2021, and it’ll be interesting to see what impact, if any, the pandemic and the growth of remote work will have on people deciding to leave or stay in their home states. To say nothing of who they end up marrying while they’re there.

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