Marriage Rates Of Utah Millenials Lead Nation

Dec 23, 2016

A new study from the Pew Research Center shows that marriage rates among millennials have dropped sharply around the country over the past decade, but least of all in Utah.

I meet Ryan and Brianna Dickison, a young married couple with two little kids, walking around in downtown Salt Lake City.  

"We’re both LDS and when I got home from my mission we got married like three months after I got home," Ryan says. 

When the Dickisons got married a few years ago, Ryan was 21 and Brianna was just 20.

According to a new study from Pew, while American millennials are delaying marriage more than ever before, Utah has the highest percent of married people between the ages of 20 and 34. Over half of the millennials in Utah are married. That’s more than double the number in Washington D.C.

Nicholas Wolfinger is a demographer at the University of Utah who studies marriage and divorce. He says over the decades Utah has resisted national marriage trends. 

"The story here is mostly about being LDS and partially just Utah culture," Wolfinger says. "If you go to church frequently, you are more likely to be married and less likely to get divorced." 

According to Wolfinger, being surrounded by churchgoers reinforces a marriage-friendly environment for others. It's an idea that’s reminiscent of the Dickisons experience.

"At least I think, with here, there’s that feeling of, it’s something happy and it’s something that’s fulfilling in your life," Ryan says. 

"Marriage is important," Brianna adds. "We feel marriage is really important. That’s why I think we got married younger." 

With an increasing number of non-Mormons moving to Utah these trends could change, but it’s unlikely to happen anytime soon.