Married couples in the U.S. are more likely to have higher incomes and become homeowners than unmarried couples living together.
- Married couples consistently have better financial security than their cohabitating but unmarried counterparts.
- Married couples ages 25 to 34 in the U.S. have an average combined net worth of $68,210 compared to unmarried couples who have a net worth of $17,372.
- A growing number of Americans are choosing to cohabitate rather than marry. From 1990 to 2019, the number of married adults in the U.S. declined from 60% to under 50%.
- During the same time, the number of adults living with their partner rose 59%.
Why it’s news
Many couples are now waiting to achieve a certain level of financial security before choosing to marry. That goal can look like a certain income level, home ownership, or a career achievement.
Though unmarried couples living together may share expenses in the same way married couples do, unmarried couples struggle to achieve the same level of financial security.
Married couples do have some tax advantages compared to unmarried couples, but the mindset of marriage itself may be a clue as to how these couples accumulate wealth.
While cohabitating couples are more likely to split expenses, married couples generally pool their resources. Combining the money available for savings allows couples to see greater returns on investments.
Married couples are also more likely to buy a house rather than rent. With combined resources, the couples are able to achieve the goal of home ownership more easily than singles or couples splitting finances.
Adding to the split between the groups, those with higher incomes are more likely to get married, giving married couples an advantage.