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Census: Marriage rates going down in Whatcom County and rest of state

Is marriage going out of style in Washington state? Genealogy site MooseRoots.com used U.S. Census data to see how marriage rates have changed in Washington over time and as it turns out, tying the knot is on a downward trend, in Whatcom County and elsewhere.

According to the data, 60.8 percent of Whatcom County residents were married in the 1970 census. By the 2010 count, that number was down to 50.5 percent - among the lowest rates in Washington. Some of that may have to do with the presence of Western Washington University. By comparison, the marriage rate in Whitman County, home to Washington State University and a place where college kids outnumber wheat farmers by a large margin, was only 38.4 percent in 2010.

The “most married” county? That would be Lincoln County in eastern Washington, where 66.1 percent of the population was married in 2010. But the county has only 10,570 residents - fewer than Ferndale.

Click on the arrow at the bottom left of the heat map below to see how the number of married people has fluctuated since 1970: Taking a closer look at Washington on a county level, you’ll notice that at 16.2 percent, Pend Oreille County has seen the biggest drop in married couples since 1970.

Washington | MooseRoots

Additional research shows the number of Americans who have always been single and will never marry is at a historic high.

According to a 2014 Pew Research report, “about 20 percent of Americans older than 25 had always been single in 2012, up from 9 percent in 1960.” And if the winds keep blowing in this direction, their analysis suggests that 25 percent of millennials will never marry.

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