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FYI Guy

Seattle Times news librarian Gene Balk crunches the numbers

February 14, 2015 at 7:06 AM

Same-sex couples account for 1 in 6 Washington weddings

In a nod to Valentine’s Day, I asked the Washington Department of Health if they’d share a rather romantic statistic with me: Their most up-to-date numbers on same-sex marriage.

They gave me a scoop: From Dec. 6, 2012 — the date our same-sex marriage law went into effect — through June 30, 2014, 11,825 gay couples were married in Washington. That pencils out to 16 percent of all marriages — roughly one out of six — performed in this period.

Additionally, the state converted 3,405 same-sex domestic partnerships into marriages at the end of June, making for a grand total of 15,230 married gay couples in Washington. Congratulations to all the newlyweds!

And while we’re on the topic of newlyweds, the latest census data suggests that marriage could be making a comeback in Washington.

Click to enlarge

After several years of decline, the rate of new marriages in the state is climbing. In 2013, there were 19.9 people married for less than one year per 1,000 population — up from 18.9 in 2010, according to Census Bureau.

That data is statewide. Here in Seattle, though, a lot of folks are still steering clear of the altar. According to market-research firm Nielsen Scarborough, just 4.3 percent of Seattle singles have a wedding planned in the upcoming year. That ranks us (along with San Francisco) at the bottom among the largest metropolitan areas in the country. The top metro for upcoming nuptials is Jacksonville, Fla., where 11.4 percent of singles are already arguing over the guest list.

Whatever coast you’re on, people are waiting longer to tie the knot. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median age for first marriage hit 27 among women, and 29.3 for men, in 2014 — an all-time high. (In Washington, the ages are slightly younger than the national average for both women and men.)

And that’s probably a good thing. Data show that people who get married later are more likely to stay married. But still, newlyweds, check back with us in 9.2 years: That’s the average duration of a marriage in the U.S. (among those marriages that end in divorce).

Comments | More in Demographics | Topics: marriage

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