This is how C2ER’s Cost Of Living Index varies by region against a U.S. average of 100.
Where life is more expensive, there’s a bigger financial advantage in two-person households.
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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.”
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.”
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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.”
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.
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“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.”
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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.”
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.
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