When are you getting married? It's that presumptuous, ever-present question that plagues the unbetrothed, starting in their mid to late twenties, give or take a few years. It comes from all types—well-meaning grandpas, meddlesome aunts, patronizing peers—and despite being nearly impossible to answer except under the narrowest of circumstances, it is no longer rhetorical. Now, thanks to a new visualization from statistician Nathan Yau, you’ll have a very precise answer at the ready.
Yau—who has previously calculated other major life events like when you’ll die and how you'll likely end up in the ER on his website FlowingData—pulled statistics from the American Community Survey for years 2009 to 2014 to plot out the typical marrying ages for various demographics. The chart shows percentage of marriages for each age, with a green line representing women and an orange line depicting men. Toggling between different levels of employment status, education, and different races (white, black, Hispanic, Asian, and Native American) narrows down the data to create a snapshot of people like you.
As you might expect, women across all demographics get married younger than their male counterparts, with 26 as the median age for women marrying for the first time and 28 as the median age for men. But there are also some interesting differences in marrying age among demographics: people with advanced degrees, for instance, have a tendency to marry at age 30 (9.8% for males and 9.6% females). The graph for those who are employed and those who have a bachelor's degree show a smooth curve that both peak at around 26 or 27, while the graphs for the unemployed and people with a high school degree or less are more erratic. One thing is clear: across all demographics, your likelihood for marriage drops dramatically in the late thirties and early forties (leveling out at less than 1% after 40).
So when are you going to get married? Depending on your age, race, and education, the answer could be, "statistically speaking, 10 years ago." Or better yet, next time someone pops that annoying question, just send them Yau’s chart.