Census: South, West lead US in marriages, divorces

August 25, 2011 - 12:15 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — With marriages at an all-time low, Southern and Western states rank among the highest for couples hearing wedding bells. But many of these states also have higher divorce rates.

A Census Bureau analysis released Thursday also finds that people are waiting longer before marrying. The percentage of women who wed as teenagers has dropped precipitously since 1970, while many men are postponing marriage past their college-age years.

Maine, Alaska, Oklahoma, Kentucky and Nevada ranked at the top for divorces, while Utah, Wyoming and Arkansas — which had the highest marriage rates — were also higher than average in marital breakups. New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York ranked among the lowest in divorces.

Just 52 percent of adults 18 and over are married, down from 57 percent in 2000.