2021’s Best Cities to Get (and Stay) Married

Senior couple laughing together in a park and the woman is holding flowers

As the country opens up, there’s never been a better time to tie — or tighten — the knot. In fact, the 2021 wedding season is projected to be the biggest ever.

But your chances of marital bliss vary from city to city. So where should you settle down with your significant other for the best chance at a happily ever after?

LawnStarter ranked the Best Cities to Get (and Stay) Married by comparing the 150 biggest U.S. cities across 11 key indicators of nuptial success — from the rate of married households to the change in the divorce rate to the number of wedding venues in each city. 

Check out our ranking below, followed by highlights, lowlights, and expert matrimonial advice.

(FYI: As the gloomy pandemic ends and you pick out your wedding attire, brights are in, while darks are out.)

Table of Contents

  1. City Rankings
  2. Highlights and Lowlights
  3. Surprising Findings
  4. Ask the Experts
  5. Methodology
  6. Why This Study Matters

City Rankings 

See how each city fared in our ranking:

OVERALL RANKCityOverall ScoreMarried Population RankUnmarried Population RankWedding-Friendliness Rank
1Fremont, CA74.871111
2Jersey City, NJ67.871943
3Glendale, CA66.9187171
4Arlington, VA60.9173192
5Santa Ana, CA57.36109010
6Oakland, CA57.1236574
7Honolulu, HI56.8443169
8Santa Clarita, CA56.7621255
9Washington, DC54.8763467
10San Francisco, CA54.85263416
11Ontario, CA54.77133326
12Irvine, CA53.68223720
13Rancho Cucamonga, CA53.6412747
14Newark, NJ52.65108506
14Fort Lauderdale, FL52.65421265
16Orlando, FL52.08416314
17Providence, RI51.70507913
18Tacoma, WA51.12562021
19Anaheim, CA50.92687412
20Plano, TX50.1178102
21San Jose, CA50.10142851
22Irving, TX49.65161171
23Santa Rosa, CA49.59398518
24Fontana, CA49.2755583
25Chesapeake, VA48.9417597
26Denver, CO48.91744123
27Overland Park, KS48.89243049
28Huntington Beach, CA48.424911615
29Salt Lake City, UT48.171002522
30Grand Prairie, TX47.6896482
31Aurora, CO47.61272959
32Sioux Falls, SD47.4171360
33Long Beach, CA47.40526928
34Shreveport, LA47.34902334
35Amarillo, TX47.06482137
35Grand Rapids, MI47.06853631
37Seattle, WA46.91614333
38Moreno Valley, CA46.87418140
39Nashville, TN46.58571352
40Boston, MA46.56807624
41Brownsville, TX46.461510122
42Gilbert, AZ46.43848121
43Modesto, CA46.35332663
44Chula Vista, CA46.06611386
45Garland, TX45.73303880
46Austin, TX45.38295378
47Kansas City, MO45.26946130
48Sacramento, CA44.87374473
49San Diego, CA44.622142108
50Omaha, NE44.35209139
51Frisco, TX44.332313341
52Colorado Springs, CO44.24402790
53Chandler, AZ44.21313298
54Minneapolis, MN44.18786735
55Yonkers, NY44.1611411817
56Paradise, NV43.851251458
57St. Paul, MN43.84698737
58Tempe, AZ43.7110310925
59Fort Worth, TX43.583222112
60Vancouver, WA43.56721585
61Bakersfield, CA43.502824124
62Virginia Beach, VA43.33356135
63Boise City, ID43.19814756
64Reno, NV43.08778042
65Norfolk, VA42.83847045
66Portland, OR42.825910443
67San Bernardino, CA42.79625175
67Port St. Lucie, FL42.791135148
69Huntsville, AL42.73583191
70Tampa, FL42.50517174
71Mesa, AZ42.381865128
72Cape Coral, FL42.103114144
73Las Vegas, NV41.481059636
74Raleigh, NC41.044410881
75Lincoln, NE41.01897862
76St. Petersburg, FL40.565511072
77Henderson, NV40.363472118
78Riverside, CA40.353810095
79Miami, FL40.321115957
80Aurora, IL40.134613065
81Corpus Christi, TX40.042552145
82Durham, NC40.009112444
83Arlington, TX39.924584107
84New York, NY39.916745114
85McKinney, TX39.865412076
86Charlotte, NC39.546466105
87Dallas, TX39.487521130
88Cincinnati, OH39.4313910629
89Fort Wayne, IN39.408649104
90Los Angeles, CA39.076583100
91Wichita, KS38.901205864
92Stockton, CA38.885377117
93Oklahoma City, OK38.708356111
94Madison, WI38.1912110148
95Chicago, IL38.0710254103
96Phoenix, AZ38.024762138
97Lexington, KY37.986095113
98Augusta, GA37.9611010266
99Richmond, VA37.7311511754
100Buffalo, NY37.521227570
100Winston-Salem, NC37.526613188
100New Orleans, LA37.5212914227
103Anchorage, AK37.487914147
104Tallahassee, FL37.1212312938
105Pittsburgh, PA37.071458832
106Lubbock, TX36.94989499
107Spring Valley, NV36.9110110394
108North Las Vegas, NV36.528213779
109Glendale, AZ36.501139792
110Birmingham, AL36.4813711939
111Philadelphia, PA36.421069896
112St. Louis, MO36.4112710558
113Houston, TX36.369640142
114Spokane, WA36.3311911277
115Tulsa, OK36.209568129
116Chattanooga, TN35.561346087
117Baltimore, MD35.4313013246
118Knoxville, TN35.379991126
119Jacksonville, FL35.2910473131
120Laredo, TX35.247681143
121Louisville, KY34.999292134
122Columbus, OH34.7411882116
123Fayetteville, NC34.301433989
124Hialeah, FL33.9113114740
125Atlanta, GA33.8613212868
126Milwaukee, WI33.8313512267
127Rochester, NY33.7114914819
128Greensboro, NC33.6788134119
129Oxnard, CA33.5170143120
130Tucson, AZ33.32112115123
131Scottsdale, AZ32.7797123132
132Newport News, VA32.7412889125
133Fresno, CA32.4111799136
134San Antonio, TX32.2793111146
135Little Rock, AR32.0212414969
136Albuquerque, NM31.68126121115
137Indianapolis, IN31.40138107141
138Memphis, TN31.03136125101
139Baton Rouge, LA30.93107135133
140El Paso, TX30.8110993150
141Des Moines, IA30.7514114453
142Mobile, AL30.69140127109
143Columbus, GA30.5711686149
144Montgomery, AL30.08133136106
145Cleveland, OH29.7414814650
146Akron, OH29.6914614061
147Detroit, MI26.3715013984
148Sunrise Manor, NV26.33147141110
149Toledo, OH26.14142138127
150Worcester, MA26.0214415093
Infographic with highest and lowest married households, most separations/divorces, and most and fewest venues and wedding planners per 100,000 residents.

Note: Newark, New Jersey, and Fort Lauderdale, Florida, tied for 14th place, while Amarillo, Texas, and Grand Rapids, Michigan, tied for 35th.

Highlights and Lowlights

Playing the Long Game in California

Want a shot at making it to your golden anniversary? Move to the Golden State. California dominates our ranking of the Best Cities to Get (and Stay) Married, claiming 60% of the top 10, half of the top 20, and 40% of the top 50.

Fremont lands in first place overall, as well as in the married and unmarried population categories. The strong Catholic presence in Fremont might help explain its track record: The Catholic Church considers marriage permanent and has an estranged relationship with divorce.

Claiming another three spots in the top 10 are Bay Area cities — Glendale at No. 3, Oakland at No. 6, and San Francisco in 10th place. Los Angeles suburbs Santa Ana and Santa Clarita snag the fifth and eighth spots, respectively. Stability is clearly the name of the game in California.

Ohio: The (Broken) Heart of It All

Ohio’s poor performance in our ranking underscores the irony in its nickname as The Heart of It All. (The nickname, of course, comes from the state’s ticker shape.) At No. 88, Cincinnati is tops among the state’s biggest cities, while Columbus finishes at 122. Other Ohio cities land in the bottom 10: Cleveland at 145, Akron at 146, and Toledo barely escaping last place at 149. 

Cincinnati’s higher position results from its 6th-place showing in wedding chapels and churches per 100,000 residents and 12th-place finish in the five-year difference in the share of never-married young population. 

You’ll hear a lot of church bells in Ohio, but you might just be getting summoned to dinner.

Hialeah Today, Sayonara Tomorrow

“Forever” might not be a common term among married couples in Hialeah, Florida. This Miami suburb registers the highest separation and divorce rate (and highest five-year change), as well as the fourth highest decrease in rate of married households in the country. 

Why are so many couples splitting up in Hialeah? First, it helps to understand that it’s not just the city — Florida itself has one of the highest divorce rates in the nation. One Floridian blames it partly on the high immigration rate, specifically the strain immigration puts on a relationship that eventually could lead to a breakup. 

The other reason the writer cites is the unusually high rate of “gray” divorce (so named for those aged 65 and older), which has tripled since the 1990s. Take that with a grain of Florida sea salt. 

Whatever the real reason(s), married couples might want to steer clear of Hialeah if sticking together is a long-term goal.

Surprising Findings

Las Vegas: Great for Quick Nuptials, Average for Longevity

Las Vegas might be the most iconic wedding spot in America, but it’s only middling at best in our ranking at No. 73. 

Why so mediocre? The city’s unmarried young population grew faster in five years than in others, finishing at 116th place. And at position 136, the city’s separation and divorce rate is one of the highest in the nation, though couples who happen to wed in Vegas don’t necessarily stay in Vegas — but their marriages may not last, either. (After her surprise trip down the aisle in Sin City, Britney Spears divorced her new hubby just 55 hours later. That’s barely a weekend.)

But if your dream is to be married by Elvis, Vegas is still your best option for that cinematic ceremony. Just don’t accidentally leave the groom on the roof of Caesars Palace like Doug’s groomsmen do in The Hangover.

Unbuckling the Bible Belt

You’d think the Bible Belt would outnumber the rest of America in wedding chapels and churches, but the data proclaims otherwise (when adjusted for population size). 

Only four of the top 20 cities for wedding chapels and churches per 100,000 residents hail from this deeply Christian region: Shreveport, Louisiana, at No. 7; Norfolk, Virginia, at No. 13; Fayetteville, North Carolina, at No. 17; and Chattanooga, Tennessee, in 20th place. 

Most of those at the bottom are some of the biggest U.S. metro areas that are predominantly Christian or Protestant. Among these are Dallas and Los Angeles.

What accounts for this strange phenomenon? Size matters. Our data doesn’t consider how big a chapel or church is in each city, and megachurches, which are most common in the states at the bottom of our ranking, would be counted as one. So while there are fewer churches in these cities, they simply might preach to a bigger flock.

When Supply Exceeds Demand

Glendale, California, monopolizes the wedding industry, boasting more venues, bridal shops, and tuxedo stores per 100,000 residents than any other U.S. city, plus the third highest number of wedding chapels and churches (when adjusted for population size).

But there’s a strange paradox at play here: While few marriages dissolved in Glendale lately, fewer couples also applied for new marriage licenses. This Los Angeles suburb ranks No. 4 in separations and divorces but No. 129 in the five-year change in the rate of married households. 

So don’t expect as much repeat wedding business here today.

Ask The Experts

Attitudes about marriage change over time. We reached out to a panel of experts to weigh in on marital trends and share their best tips for wedded bliss. See what they had to say below.

  1. What does marriage mean to Americans today compared with, say, 10 or 20 years ago?
  2. Contrary to predictions that the U.S. divorce rate would surge during the pandemic, it appears to have declined. What gives?
  3. Just as the U.S. divorce rate has declined over the years, so too has the marriage rate. Why are fewer people getting married?
  4. What are the top three advantages of marriage in the U.S. today?
  5. What’s your single most important advice for married couples struggling with their relationship during quarantine or isolation?
  6. What are the best ways to stay safe at a wedding during the pandemic?
Bryce Christensen
Professor of English, Department of English
Anthony G. James Jr., PhD, CFLE
Interim Vice President for Institutional Diversity and Inclusion, Office of the President
Anthony Paik
Professor of Sociology, Department of Sociology
William Henninger
Associate Professor, School of Applied Human Sciences
Dr. A. J. Ramirez
Lecturer of Sociology
Bryce Christensen
Professor of English, Department of English
Southern Utah University

What does marriage mean to Americans today compared with, say, 10 or 20 years ago?

Americans are more divided about marriage than they have ever been before. Many Americans continue to cherish it as a foundational social institution.

Many of those who value marriage most recognize it as a divinely ordained institution. Very few of such individuals welcome or recognize as valid the Supreme Court’s radical innovation of same-sex marriage, seeing it not as a redefinition of marriage but an abolition of any coherent or meaningful definition. (C.S. Lewis would recognize it as “verbicide,” the murder of a word.) Some have marveled that the Court’s action did not boost a national marriage rate that was in a tailspin.

Those with a more realistic perspective recognized the Court’s decision as symptomatic of confusion about the nature of marriage at the highest cultural levels, confusion that naturally translates not into reinvigoration of the institution but rather into continued decline, which is what we have seen in the six years since that decision.

In particular, the Court’s same-sex-marriage decision indicated a failure to recognize the natural gender complementarity that sustains wedlock. It is largely because they now repudiate such gender complementarity that a significant number of Americans see marriage as archaic, unnecessary, perhaps even oppressive.

The number of Americans dismissive of wedlock has indeed grown in recent decades. To be sure, a large number of Americans view marriage as desirable but socially and financially unattainable — nor is their attitude surprising in a world where governmental and corporate leaders do very little to affirm or support wedlock.

Our media and entertainment no longer affirm marriage as a social necessity. And do not look to our national media or entertainment for any support for the gender complementarity that fosters and sustains marriage. No such support is there. No one should be surprised that the American marriage rate is at an all-time low.

Contrary to predictions that the U.S. divorce rate would surge during the pandemic, it appears to have declined. What gives?

The decline in divorce rates is mostly a consequence of the sharp drop in the marriage rate: At a time when relatively few people are getting married, those who are still choosing to tie the knot are those most personally invested in the institution, most resistant to anti-marital pressures, and therefore least likely to bail out.

Though it is probably less important as a reason for falling divorce rates, economic troubles (including those caused by COVID-19) have likely caused some couples to be more reliant on their spouses, less inclined to think of cutting their own path, than they would otherwise have been.

What are the top three advantages of marriage in the U.S. today?

The greatest advantage of being married in America today is that of enjoying sustained emotional, psychological, economic, social, and spiritual companionship and support. The Bible teaches that it is “not good for man [or woman] to be alone” (Gen. 2:18). Anyone who can read the epidemiological research will recognize the continued validity of that biblical teaching: Married individuals enjoy decidedly better physical and psychological health than do unmarried peers. The marital advantage is more pronounced for men, but it is significant for both men and women.

The sustaining influence of wedlock is especially important for adults with children: Single mothers are decidedly worse off — economically, emotionally, psychologically — than are their married peers. Children predictably do better when their parents are married — experiencing less poverty, suffering from fewer physical and psychological ailments, and doing better in school than peers with unmarried parents.

Of course, the drop in the marriage rate is a prime reason for a national fertility rate now depressed well below replacement level, a birth dearth that augurs ill for our future economic and cultural vitality. The drop in the marriage rate further means that among the depressed number of children born, an unprecedented fraction is now born out of wedlock. The surge in out-of-wedlock births consequent to the drop in the marriage rate portends social woes for hundreds of thousands of children in the decades ahead.

What’s your single most important advice for married couples struggling with their relationship during quarantines or isolation?

The advice I would give to couples struggling with their relationships in the current circumstances — or any circumstances at all — is to find God and make Him a partner in their union.

Given the origins of wedlock in religious faith (Genesis 2:18-24; Matt. 19:4-6), no one should be surprised that couples who pray together and who worship together are far more likely to stay together, far less likely to split up, than are couples who profess no religious faith.

What are the best ways to stay safe at a wedding during the pandemic?

Those attending weddings during the pandemic should, of course, follow the recommendation of public-health officials: Get vaccinated whenever possible, wear masks, observe social distancing.

Anthony G. James Jr., PhD, CFLE
Interim Vice President for Institutional Diversity and Inclusion, Office of the President
Miami University

What does marriage mean to Americans today compared with, say, 10 or 20 years ago?

I think it depends on your values about marriage and relationships. Of course, the marriage rate is declining for a variety of reasons, because some people have other things they may be interested in and there is less shame about living together or being in long-term committed relationships outside of marriage (note: this is quite prevalent in many European countries).

There are some consequences to such decisions (e.g., married Black couples have a very low poverty rate compared to Black single-parent families), but deciding to not marry or explore other family structures is a freedom that people can choose.

Contrary to predictions that the U.S. divorce rate would surge during the pandemic, it appears to have declined. What gives?

We would need much more research (data) to answer that question more confidently, but it may be that the pandemic was a great reminder of the need for healthy and sustainable human relationships. Marriage is one such, which requires effort and sacrifice (much like intimate friendships).

The pandemic forced couples to spend more time together. For some, that may have exacerbated problems that caused a split, but maybe for most it was a time to recommit to each other and find ways to strengthen the relationship; hence, lower divorce.

Additionally, financial constraints may have also provided more pragmatic motivations to stay together and make things work.

Just as the U.S. divorce rate has declined over the years, so too has the marriage rate. Why are fewer people getting married?

In short, see answers above. Additionally, school focus, career focus, exploration of nonsexual intimate relationships (e.g., friendships), more focus on self-actualization, reduction of social shame for not being married (e.g., old-maid trope), etc.

What are the top three advantages of marriage in the U.S. today?

There are many, but I would say:

  1. The chance to build a life with a partner
  2. Increase household income (the vast majority of marriages are two working adults), and
  3. If there are children involved, more adults to care for kids.

What’s your single most important advice for married couples struggling with their relationship during quarantines or isolation?

First, don’t be afraid to seek professional help. There are all sorts of professionals who have the skills and tools to help struggling couples, assuming each member of the couple desires to maintain (and strengthen) the relationship.

What are the best ways to stay safe at a wedding during the pandemic?

I would say to follow the guidelines of local health experts (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) such as maintaining social distancing, wearing masks, etc.

Anthony Paik
Professor of Sociology, Department of Sociology
University of Massachusetts-Amherst

What does marriage mean to Americans today compared with, say, 10 or 20 years ago?

A lower proportion of Americans are getting married today, compared to 15 or so years ago, and a higher proportion are cohabiting. At the same time, marriage rights were extended to same-gender unions during this period.

In terms of the meaning of marriage, people today have flexibility to structure their intimate relationships in ways that fit what they would like. If some prefer cohabitation over marriage, they can form them. Likewise, if people prefer to marry, the right to marriage is now available to all.

Contrary to predictions that the U.S. divorce rate would surge during the pandemic, it appears to have declined. What gives?

I am not sure what predictions you are looking at, but the theory is that divorce rates go down during times of national stress (e.g., divorces during the Great Recession). As such, we should have expected a lower divorce rate during the pandemic, which is what happened, but now there should be a spike in 2021.

Just as the U.S. divorce rate has declined over the years, so too has the marriage rate. Why are fewer people getting married?

See my answer above regarding cohabitation.

What are the best ways to stay safe at a wedding during the pandemic?

The best way would be to have a virtual wedding or a small, outdoor ceremony (possibly with additional attendance virtually).

Until most people are vaccinated, I think weddings should adopt practices to minimize COVID-19 transmission risk (e.g., held outdoors, capacity limits, double masking, physical distancing, compliance with travel restrictions, attendance based on testing negative or completed vaccination regimes, hand hygiene, no buffets, etc.).

That said, hopefully most people will be vaccinated soon.

William Henninger
Associate Professor, School of Applied Human Sciences
University of Northern Iowa

What does marriage mean to Americans today compared with, say, 10 or 20 years ago?

I am not sure if there is a lot of conclusive research out there on this question. We do know that fewer Americans are getting married and divorced. We also know that Americans are waiting longer to get married and have kids.

In that respect, it might be that there is a subpopulation of the younger generation that looks at marriage as more of an emotional bonding than a bonding that also consolidates wealth and signifies a progression toward “baby making” years.

With that being said, social science researchers often comment on the changes in averages they find in their data and then make educated guesses about what it means for the population as a whole. That does not mean that the norm in America is now for people to not get married or have kids. It means that fewer people are deciding to get married and have kids on the schedule that their parents did.

Contrary to predictions that the U.S. divorce rate would surge during the pandemic, it appears to have declined. What gives?

That is a great question. I have not seen any conclusive data on why this is the case, but there are some theories that might give us guesses:

  1. Social exchange theory would suggest that people don’t leave relationships when they are miserable. They leave relationships when they are miserable and have better alternatives. If we are locked in our houses, it is hard to really find alternatives. I think an interesting follow-up question will be if we see a spike in divorces/separations once we have restrictions lifted.
  2. When we think about “relational value,” it is the extent to which our partners look to us as a source of comfort. Maybe because we are only spending time with our household, it is strengthening that relational value. Unfortunately, social science is not like chemistry; we rarely get a black-and-white answer. But, for me, that is what makes it fascinating.

Just as the U.S. divorce rate has declined over the years, so too has the marriage rate. Why are fewer people getting married?

There is probably a confluence of variables that impacts this trend. One thing to note is that this is a global phenomenon (per United Nations stats).

The age at which people get married has increased. Delaying marriage allows people to get more set up in their careers and become more discerning about who they marry. People will always get divorced, but financial stability and picking a partner with similar goals and beliefs will decrease the chance of divorce.

Wolfinger at the Institute of Family Studies has cited research that suggests for each year a person puts off marriage after the age of 18, there is an 11% decrease of divorce until age 32. But there is a caveat (as with most social science data): After the age of 32, there is a 5% increase in the change of divorce for each additional year a person waits.

It should be noted, the longer people put off marriage, the chance they will not get married becomes greater. That can be due to a smaller pool, less of a desire to get married (they may live with a partner, just not “tie the knot”), or they die and never have a chance to get married.

What are the top three advantages of marriage in the U.S. today?

Assuming a person marries someone they are a good match with (I would say there is little advantage in getting married to someone with whom you don’t get along), there are a lot of advantages. A noninclusive list looks like:

  1. Emotional connection
  2. Someone to raise children with (many people have children without marriage or a partner)
  3. Financial incentives (both pooling resources and governmental incentives)
  4. A person to rely on. I had knee surgery last summer, and my wife drove me to the doctor, picked up my medication, etc. If I were not married to a kind and helpful person, I would have had to find other people to help me out.
  5. For men in heterosexual marriages, emotional support is often provided by their wife. We find that if their wife leaves them or passes away, they are likely to experience depressive symptoms due to a lack of emotional support. Women tend to be pretty good about getting emotional support from friends and family.

There are a lot more benefits. Honestly, the top three benefits are what the person getting married values the most. It should be noted that many of these benefits can be experienced in committed relationships where people decide not to get a legal marriage.

What’s your single most important advice for married couples struggling with their relationship during quarantines or isolation?

Give your partner some grace — isolating sucks for everyone.

Find things they like; do that for them. It doesn’t have to be big. If they like having the sheets washed once a week, do that for them.

Find out the things they don’t like, and stop doing them.

Schedule time together and time apart.

That is more than one but really falls under the blanket “make your partner’s life as easy as possible.”

What are the best ways to stay safe at a wedding during the pandemic?

I am not a medical/real doctor (as my grandma likes to point out), but I am a person who believes in science, so I would suggest you follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state guidelines at the time of the wedding.

Dr. A. J. Ramirez
Lecturer of Sociology
Valdosta State University

What does marriage mean to Americans today compared with, say, 10 or 20 years ago?

Marriage is a nonstatic institution. As society evolves with time, so do its relationships, including marriage.

The meaning of marriage is changing as time continues. How Americans identify what marriage is today vs. 10 or 20 years ago would depend on the couple and their geographic locations.

One significant change occurred in 2015 when the U.S. legalized same-sex marriage with the Marriage Equality Act. This is something new that was not present 10 or 20 years ago that explains briefly how the definition of marriage can change over time.

Just as the U.S. divorce rate has declined over the years, so too has the marriage rate. Why are fewer people getting married?

According to the U.S. Census website, marriage from 2009-2019 decreased as well as divorces. In 2009, 17.6% new marriages for women ages 15 and older were reported, and in 2019 there were 16.3% of marriages reported. In 2009 there were 9.7% of divorces for women ages 15 and older, and in 2019 there were 7.6% of divorces for the same population. This information comes prior to the pandemic and could possibly be explained by many different factors.

As mentioned before, time contributes to how people view marriage. Society evolves as new technology creates new advantages and adds resources to our living standards.

Marriage traditionally was viewed as an economical advantage, depending on whom one married. However, for the last several decades, this has become less and less of a factor as women are more active in the job force, as well as earning degrees of higher education and as technology provides advantages to life that were not previously available. Access to the internet has opened more opportunities for socializing, career attainment, and educational achievement, to name a few.

Marriage traditionally was based heavily on a patriarchal advantage of giving women limited opportunities for independent success. However, in the 21st century, we see less of this as a motive for marriage. What women once had to accomplish through the success of their husbands can now be accomplished independently, therefore making marriage possibly less desirable.

This is not to say that marriage is out of favor with all genders. As marriage equality in 2015 gave the right for same-sex couples to marry, we are witnessing a new definition of what marriage means in our current century.

I believe as time continues, we will redefine the heteronormative standards of what marriage was and begin to see the institution shift to a new meaning. This among many other factors may be why we are seeing a change in numbers of both marriage and divorce.


We ranked the 150 largest U.S. cities from best (No. 1) to worst (No. 200) based on their overall scores (out of 100 possible points), averaged across the weighted metrics below.

MetricWeightingMin. ValueMax. ValueBest
Married Population
Rate of Married Households319.23%69.70%Max. Value
5-Year Difference in Rate of Married Households (2019 vs. 2014)3-4.02%4.39%Max. Value
Unmarried Population
Share of Never-Married Young People262.11%87.79%Min. Value
5-Year Difference in Share of Never-Married Young People (2019 vs. 2014)2-1.52%11.23%Min. Value
Separation and Divorce Rate16.61%18.85%Min. Value
5-Year Difference in Separation and Divorce Rate (2019 vs. 2014)1-2.41%3.75%Min. Value
Wedding Chapels and Churches per 100,000 Residents22.8986.46Max. Value
Venues and Event Spaces per 100,000 Residents20.5160.93Max. Value
Event Planners per 100,000 Residents27.0292.47Max. Value
Bridal Shops per 100,000 Residents1017.98Max. Value
Tuxedo Shops per 100,000 Residents1029.47Max. Value

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Census Bureau, and Yelp

Why This Study Matters

After a heartbreaking year of delays and cancellations, wedding season is back on in full force. And though pandemic restrictions are all but erased, many couples are choosing to exchange their vows outdoors for safety.

But physical health isn’t the only consideration for couples on their big day — they need to protect the health of their marriage, too. That depends not just on their level of commitment to each other, but also on the durability of other marriages in their circle.

According to researchers, “a couple’s social situation and community network can also affect the status of their marriage and their prospects for marital dissolution.” In other words, being surrounded by successful or failed marriages can influence a couple’s own marital success or risk of divorce.

So if you’re hoping for everlasting love — or feel like your marriage is on the rocks — try renewing your vows or moving to one of the Best Cities to Get (and Stay) Married.

Main Photo Credit: Shutterstock


Staff Writer