Whether you’re on every dating app or you’re taking a more casual approach to finding “the one,” rocking the single life can be so many things: fun, hilarious and sometimes a nuisance. But could something you can’t change be the reason why you’re still single? The New York Times believes so, and they’ve published an eye-opening, research-backed article that details the likelihood of getting married by age 26… depending on where you grew up. The research, spearheaded by Harvard economists Raj Chetty and Nathaniel Hendren, followed over five million people who moved as children in the ’80s and ’90s.
When you have some spare time, we highly recommend reading the New York Times’ article here, but for now, here are four key points from the research that may explain your marriage woes.
1. You grew up in New York City (or another major city). The research shows that growing up in a city will significantly decrease your chances of getting married by 26. Large cities tend to have a “marriage-discouraging” effect, with Washington, D.C. taking the crown for being the the most marriage-discouraging in the nation. Even more alarming than Washington, D.C. is the New York area, which has five counties — Bronx, New York, Nassau, Suffolk, and Essex County, NJ — each with large populations in the top ten list of marriage-discouraging cities.
2. You grew up as a liberal. Counties that leaned strongly Republican in 2012 were more likely to encourage marriage for their children. In fact, the Pew Research Center created a poll last year that asked both Republicans and Democrats if “society was better off when people made marriage and having children a priority.” 59 percent of Republicans said yes, while 61 percent of Democrats said no. It’s believed that these attitudes toward marriage strongly influence children’s attitudes as they grow older.
3. You grew up poor and lived in the South. Interestingly enough, income also affects the likelihood of being married by 26. In the South, poorer children are less likely to get married, while affluent children are more likely to. The article mentions that race plays into this, as low-income children in the South are disproportionately black, but it also states that poor children of any race) who move to the South are less likely to be married.
4. You didn’t grow up in a small town. This is fascinating, because even after political sides were factored in, the researchers noticed that less-densely populated areas promoted marriage. Want proof? Iowa and Oregon voted Democratic in 2012, but both states take marriage very seriously. Besides Democratic Iowa and Oregon, states with smaller populations that encourage marriage include Idaho, Kansas, Utah and Nebraska.
What do you think? Do you agree with the data listed in the New York Times article? Let us know in the comments below!