Biggest Increase in the Marriage Rate During 2020 Occurred in… Montana?

There were many social and health markers that were significantly disrupted in 2020 with the arrival of the pandemic.  Increases in mortality and declines in people seeking medical care during 2020 are well-documented, as is the sharp decline in fertility.   Employment levels and other economic indicators were greatly impacted, as was the workplace itself.  Education at all levels was faced with unprecedented challenges in 2020. 

Another social marker greatly impacted by the pandemic was marriage in the United States.  The number of marriages in the country declined 16.8% between 2019 and 2020, from 2,015,603 to 1,676,911¹.  The 2020 number of marriages is the lowest recorded in the U.S. since 1963².  The marriage rate (the number of marriages per 1,000 population) fell 16.4% from 2019 to 2020, from 6.1 marriages per 1,000 to 5.1 per 1,000.


At the state level, the declines in marriage rates were widespread³ – 46 states and the District of Columbia saw declines in marriage during 2020.  The biggest declines occurred in the following states: Hawaii (47.9%), California (43.9%), New Mexico (43.3%), New York (37.5%) and Louisiana (33.3%).  All the declines were statistically significant except for in three states:  Idaho, South Dakota, and Wyoming, where declines were only 2%.

The highest marriage rate in the U.S. in 2020, as in years past, belonged to Nevada – but the rate was down 18.9% in that state from 2019.

There were also four states in which the marriage rate increased in 2020: Montana (31.6%), Texas (8.2%), Alabama (7.5%) and Utah (3.7%).

Some of the changes in 2020 may be partly due to reporting issues, which also became a factor during the pandemic.

State-by-state comparisons are available on the CDC/NCHS web site at:

¹ CDC/NCHS Vital Statistics System,

² CDC/NCHS Vital Statistics System,

³ CDC/NCHS Vital Statistics System,


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