Math can determine the perfect age to get married

Posted July 18

Daters, listen up. Math theory can tell you the perfect age to get married.

At least that's what journalist Brian Christian and cognitive scientist Tom Griffiths, co-authors of "Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions," suggest. And the theory to note, writes Chris Weller in Tech Times, is the 37 Percent Rule.

It "basically says that when you need to screen a range of options in a limited amount of time — be they candidates for a job, new apartments, or potential romantic partners — the best time to make a decision is when you've looked at 37 percent of those options," writes Weller. He explains it's the sweet spot between having learned enough to make an informed decisions and wasting too much time gathering data and considering options.

For those ages 18 to 40, he notes, 37 percent into the age span would be 26, making it "the optimal age to start seriously considering your future husband or wife. … Before then, you'll probably miss out on higher-quality partners, but after that, good options could start to become unavailable, decreasing your chances of finding "the one."

A University of Utah sociologist, Nicholas Wolfinger, published a study that put the ideal age for marriage at 28 to 32, as Time's Belinda Luscombe noted last summer. That's not really a quibble, according to Weller, because once you've found the right person — say at age 26 — it takes a little time to get the ducks lined up to marry, right?

The Deseret News recently covered a Pew Research Center analysis of the increasing age at which American men and women are getting married. According to the article, "Pew noted that the share of American adults who have never married reached a record level and that men are more likely than women to be in that category. The report's authors wrote that 'The dramatic rise in the share of never-married adults and the emerging gender gap are related to a variety of factors. Adults are marrying later in life, and the shares of adults cohabiting and raising children outside of marriage have increased significantly. The median age at first marriage is now 27 for women and 29 for men, up from 20 for women and 23 for men in 1960.'"

Pricenomics used United Nations World Marriage Data 2015 to show the average age at which people in the world's 20 most populous countries tie the knot. The oldest average age of marriage was Germany at 33.1 years, while the youngest was Indonesia, where the average age is 21.9. In that analysis, the United States and the United Kingdom were tied for fourth place at 27.9 years, on average. brought the conversation a little closer to home not long ago. "We tracked down the median age of first marriages among men and women in all 50 states with data from 2013’s annual American Community Survey. The numbers show that most first weddings occur between ages 26 and 30 — no surprise there —with Utah putting up the youngest ages for both men and women (25.9 and 24, respectively), Vermont has the highest median age among men (32.3) and Massachusetts has the highest among women (29.6). Take a gander at how your state stacks up. It's not quite the same as comparing friends' wedding photos on Facebook, but it's a lot more factual."

A Forbes article tempers the whole discussion with a bit of heavy advice: "Don't get married until you know who you're going to be when you grow up." For some, 26 won't even be close to long enough to figure that one out.

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