After two years of decline, marriages in the U.S. have now returned to pre-pandemic levels. For every 1,000 unmarried adults in 2022, 34 tied the knot, according to the newly released 2022 American Community Survey (ACS) from the Census Bureau. This marks a significant increase from the rate of 30 per 1,000 in 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic. Prior to the pandemic, the rate stood at 33 per 1,000 in 2018 and 34 per 1,000 in 2019.
The rise of the marriage rate in 2022 reflects a natural rebound. The U.S. marriage rate was at its lowest level in 2020, when many couples had to delay weddings because of the pandemic. Although there was an uptick in the number of marriages in 2021, it was not fully reflected in the ACS data at the time, as mentioned in an earlier post.
At the same time, the divorce rate in the U.S. remained near record lows in 2022. For every 1,000 marriages in 2022, 13.8 ended in divorce, according to the same ACS data. This is slightly higher than the rate in 2021 (13.6 per 1,000 marriages) and in 2020 (13.5 per 1,000 marriages), but markedly lower than the pre-pandemic level in 2019 (14.9 per 1,000 marriages).
The U.S. Fertility rate also remained near record lows in 2022, according to the National Center for Health Statistics’ report based on birth certificates. The total fertility rate, which estimates the number of children a woman has in her lifetime, was 1.7 children per woman in 2022, unchanged from the level in 2021. The fertility rate fell to a record low of 1.6 children per woman in 2020 during the pandemic. However, the downward trend in the U.S. fertility rate started well before the pandemic. Fertility in America has been declining since 2009, from around replacement level (2.1 children per woman) to 1.7 children per woman in 2019, the year before the pandemic.
Wendy Wang is director of research at the Institute for Family Studies. See our previous post on ACS data.