Numbering over 72 million, millennials—defined by the Pew Research Center as people born between 1981 and 1996—are now the largest generation in the U.S., accounting for about 22% of the population. When compared to previous generations, millennials are different in many ways, but one of the most noteworthy is their approach to marriage. The median age at first marriage has been increasing for decades, and the majority of millennials are not married. In fact, more than a third of millennials are neither married nor living with an unmarried partner, according to the most recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
In 1950, the median age at first marriage was 20.3 for women and 22.8 for men. By 2020 that had increased to 28.1 for women and 30.5 for men. The result is that currently only about 44% of millennials are married, compared to 53% of Gen Xers, 61% of Baby Boomers, and a whopping 81% of Silents when they were similar ages.
A variety of factors contribute to declining marriage rates among millennials. Many are worse off financially than their parents were at the same age. Likewise, millennials are saddled with student loan debt, and a large share graduated either during or shortly after the Great Recession. Research shows that while millennial employment recovered within a decade following the Great Recession, millennial earnings never did. Additionally, because millennials grew up during a period of record divorce rates, they might be consciously approaching marriage more cautiously than their parents did.
At a geographic level, age composition varies widely. Rural places tend to skew older, while urban areas attract more young adults. New graduates are attracted to places with good job opportunities and amenities, and singles may look for cities with large single populations. Local socioeconomic conditions, racial/ethnic makeup, and culture affect an area’s marriage and cohabitation rates as well.
At the state level, North Dakota and Alaska have the largest millennial populations at 25.5% and 25% of total, respectively. However, both of these states have below-average shares of single millennials. In North Dakota 33.5% of millennials are single while just 28.5% of millennials are single in Alaska. Instead, the highest concentration of single millennials are found mostly in the South. Louisiana and Mississippi have the highest percentage of millennials that are single in the country at 39.7% and 39.5%, respectively.
Whether uncommitted by choice or actively seeking to find the right partner, single millennials generally benefit from living in areas with other people their age, large single populations, healthy job markets, and plenty of food and entertainment options. To find the best metropolitan areas for single millennials, researchers at Porch analyzed data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Bureau of Economic Analysis, creating a composite score based on the following factors:
- Percentage of millennials that are single
- Gender ratio among millennials
- Millennial share of the population
- Employment rate among single millennials (compared to average)
- Median adjusted income for full-time millennials
- Food and entertainment rank
Only the 150 largest metropolitan areas were included in the analysis. Metros were then ranked based on their final composite score.
The analysis found that millennials make up 25.1% of the Anchorage metro population. And in total, 30.4% of Anchorage millennials are single. Here is a summary of the data for the Anchorage, AK metro area:
- Composite score: 67.0
- Percentage of millennials that are single: 30.4%
- Gender ratio among millennials: 1.4% more men
- Millennial share of the population: 25.1%
- Employment rate among single millennials (compared to average): -1.0%
- Median adjusted income for full-time millennials: $45,685
- Food and entertainment rank: 41
For reference, here are the statistics for the entire United States:
- Composite score: N/A
- Percentage of millennials that are single: 34.3%
- Gender ratio among millennials: 1.2% more men
- Millennial share of the population: 21.8%
- Employment rate among single millennials: 80.8%
- Median adjusted income for full-time millennials: $44,000
- Food and entertainment rank: N/A
For more information, a detailed methodology, and complete results, you can find the original report on Porch’s website: https://porch.com/advice/best-cities-for-single-millennials