Married and out of town

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Get the Upshot in your Inbox. It also affects your odds of marrying, a large new data set shows. The most striking geographical pattern on marriage, as with so many other issues today, is the partisan divide. Spending childhood nearly anywhere in blue America — especially liberal bastions like New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston and Washington — makes people about 10 percentage points less likely to marry relative to the rest of the country. And no place encourages marriage quite like the conservative Mountain West, especially the heavily Mormon areas of Utah, southern Idaho and parts of Colorado.

These conclusions — based on an Upshot analysis of data compiled by a team of Harvard economists studying upward mobility, housing and tax policy — are not simply observations about correlation. Nationwide, the jurisdiction with the single largest marriage-discouraging effect is Washington. But the New York area stands out even more. Because they have studied more than five million people who moved as children during the s and s.

Those who moved to New York, among other places, were indeed less likely to marry than otherwise similar people who grew up elsewhere. And the younger that children were when they moved to New York, the less likely they were to marry. We asked the researchers, Raj Chetty and Nathaniel Hendrenwhether the differences in marriage may be much smaller than these comparisons suggest. That is, does hood make marriage less likely — or simply delay marriage?

It does not seem to simply delay marriage; the researchers found very similar patterns when they looked at the data up to age The places that made marriage more likely at 26 also tended to make it more likely at age Children who grow in New York, among other places, appear less likely to be married by 26, less likely to be married by 30 and probably less likely to marry at any point. The few metropolitan counties that voted Republican in turn out to be in marriage-encouraging places, such as Phoenix, Salt Lake City and Fort Worth, as well as Waukesha County, Wis. Polling data tells the same story about partisanship and marriage attitudes.

When the Pew Research Center asked last year if society was better off when people made marriage and having children a priority, 59 percent of Republicans a group that includes people who lean Republican said yes, while only 36 percent of Republicans said society was just as well off if people had other priorities. For Democrats, the shares were virtually flipped: 35 percent and 61 percent. These attitudes evidently affect children growing up in different places.

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In a s experiment with housing vouchers, known as Moving to Opportunity, poor children who moved to less poor neighborhoods at a young age became more likely to marry as adults than similar children who grew up in poorer areas.

It nudges affluent children toward marriage and lower-income children away from it. By comparison, the Northeast generally discourages marriage for children of all income levels, and the Mountain West encourages it for children of all levels. Race certainly plays a role here. Lower-income children in the South are disproportionately black, and marriage rates are also lower among African-Americans.

But the data suggests that race is not the only factor: When poor families move to the South, their children become less likely to marry, and there is no evidence that the effect is restricted to only one race. Consider Tatea mostly white county in northern Mississippi, about 35 miles south of Memphis.

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It has one of the largest class differences. The only two states that both make marriage ificantly more likely and that voted Democratic in are Iowa and Oregon. Those two states have a much lower population density than California, Illinois, New Jersey, New York and most other blue states.

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A Pew analysissimilarly, found that the five states where the highest share of men were currently married with at least 56 percent in each were the Republican bastions of Idaho, Kansas, Utah and Nebraska — as well as Iowa. None of these states are especially urban.

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Utah is worth special attention. hood in Utah County, home of Brigham Young University and the city of Provo, makes marriage 20 percentage points more likely by age 26 than an average childhood in the United States. By comparison, hood in Manhattan, on the other end of the spectrum, makes marriage only 12 percentage points less likely. Please upgrade your browser. See next articles. Highlighted counties are in the New York area. Based on share of two-party vote; estimates are based on a full childhood in each county up to age For poor people. For rich people.

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How Your Hometown Affects Your Chances of Marriage