Women In New York & L.A. Want Marriage More Than Women In Texas. Why?

Plus five other discoveries from our survey.

by Bustle Editors
A Bustle survey finds that most women do want to get married.

TorriPhoto/Getty Images

In 2021, OnePoll conducted a survey of 1,005 Bustle readers to find out their feelings about marriage. The results showed that many of our readers were eager to find committed relationships, though the geographical breakdown of those desires was, on the surface, unexpected.

“I would like to be married or in a civil partnership.”

A lot of women wanted to get married, though the numbers were higher in bicoastal areas. There are a few reasons why this may be the case.

Cost of Living

This is how C2ER’s Cost Of Living Index varies by region against a U.S. average of 100.

  • Northeast - 120.92
  • West - 118.24
  • Southwest - 93.88
  • Midwest - 93.08
  • Southeast - 92.83

Where life is more expensive, there’s a bigger financial advantage in two-person households.

Brian Hagiwara/Getty Images

High Divorce Rates

The proportion of divorced/separated 20-35 year olds is higher in the Southwest (4.5%) and Southeast (4.2%) compared to the Northeast (2.4%), and it’s the same when you broaden the data for women of all ages. Of the South, dating coach Alexis Germany says: “Maybe they’re taking their time more to decide if they definitely want to get married.”

Marrying Later

The median age of marriage is lowest in the Southeast (27) and highest in the Northeast (29.5), where the proportion of unmarried women aged 20-35 is also highest at 68%. “In the Northeast, given the fast pace of lifestyles, people talk about how hard it is to make connections,” says Germany. “Often it takes a lot longer to meet someone.”

“I prefer not to say out loud how keen I am to get married.”

Elsewhere, we found that women from South, Southwest, and Midwest were relaxed about voicing their interest in marriage. In the Northeast and West, three quarters of those surveyed were reluctant to admit their interest in getting hitched.

Paul Burns/Getty Images

This reticence is common, says Germany, with many clients saying “I don’t want to say on the first date that I’m looking for marriage because then that will scare them off.”

“As a woman, we’re not supposed to desire marriage, and that’s really damaging,” she adds. “We have to be open about what we want and not waste time in spaces that aren’t going to work for us.”

“Men have it easier than women when it comes to dating.”

Women in those regions were also disaffected about the inequality of dating opportunities, with 4 in 5 women stating they think men have it easier than women with dating. That number was as low as 1 in 2 in Arkansas, Arizona, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas.

Peter Dazeley/Getty Images

“All of my clients, both male and female — everybody thinks that their opposite has it easier in the dating world,” Germany says. “I tell a lot of my women clients. ‘Listen, [men] are often put in the space to be rejected time and time again. They go through TikTok seeing all these people talking about how they wouldn’t even take a second glance at someone who’s under six feet tall or earns under six figures.”

“I feel left behind among my friends because I am single.”

Again, our Southern readers were far more at peace with their relationship choices than their neighbors on the West Coast.

Thomas Barwick/Getty Images

Germany isn’t surprised anyone feels this way, but the regional breakdown is unusual. “I found it interesting that the Southern people were more at peace with their relationships,” she says. “Just because I feel like the trend would be they would be the ones feeling more pressure to get married and things if all of their friends were.”

“I want to meet someone I can commit to ASAP.”

The more relaxed pace of life in the Midwest also translates to relationship impatience, with less than 1 in 2 feeling a hurry to find the one.

Alexandra Grablewski/Getty Images

Again, singles on the coasts, who tend to move at a quicker pace, seem more eager to meet The One. “It’s another goal off of their checklist,” Germany says. “Oftentimes people in the Midwest and in the South are just more relaxed about life in general.”

“I would like my future spouse to propose ‘down on one knee.’”

While all readers liked the idea of a traditional proposal, with 9 in 10 from California and New York signaling their approval, that number fell below 7 in 10 in Texas and its fellow Sun Belt states.

susib/Getty Images

This is one old-school marriage tradition that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere soon, in part thanks to social media. “Those images that were put into our heads back in the day from Disney are now being reiterated from [proposal videos on] TikTok and YouTube and Instagram,” Germany says.

Survey conducted 2 to 7 September, 2021 with a sample of 1005 single women aged 25-40 in the following regions:

Midwest: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin

Northeast: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington D.C.

Southeast: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia

Southwest: Arkansas, Arizona, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas

West: Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming

Thanks for reading,
head home for more!