For everyone else, the results are mixed.
Americans are getting married later and later. The average age of first marriage in the United States is 27 for women and 29 for men, up from 23 for women and 26 for men in 1990 and 20 and 22 (!) in 1960.
But what are the consequences of this trend? Who benefits and who suffers? "Knot Yet: The Benefits and Costs of Delayed Marriage in America," a new report from the University of Virginia's National Marriage Project examines those questions and, unsurprisingly, concludes that the answers are different depending on who you are. "The new norm has very divergent impacts on different groups of people," said Brad Wilcox, director of the National Marriage Project and a sociology professor at UVa. "The benefits of delayed marriage in America really vary by class." Indeed: College-educated women have largely benefited from marrying later; other demographic groups, however, are having a harder time adjusting to the rising marriage age.
Financially, college-educated women benefit the most from marrying later Women who marry later make more money per year than women who marry young. The average annual personal income for college-educated women in their mid-30s who married after age 30 is $50,415, compared with $32,263 for college-educated women of the same age who married before age 20--a 56 percent difference. Female high-school graduates who attended some college also enjoy higher wages if they wait to marry, though the gap is not as wide: Those who marry after 30 earn $22,286 a year by their mid-30s, while those who marry before 20 earn $18,234, a 22 percent difference.