Numbers, Facts and Trends Shaping Your World

Four-in-Ten Couples are Saying “I Do,” Again

Appendix B: Methodology

Analyses of the trends and characteristics of adults based upon their marital status and marital history are derived from the 2013 American Community Survey (ACS), as well as the 1960 and 1980 Decennial Censuses. All of these data sources produce nationally representative samples of the U.S. population, and are conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The data used in these analyses were obtained from the Integrated Public Use Microdata database (IPUMS), provided by the University of Minnesota. Further information about the IPUMS is available at

Analyses begin with 1960, because that is the first year that the Decennial Census collected data on remarriages. 1980 data are included as well, to serve as an approximate mid-point between 1960 and 2013. (Data regarding remarriages were not collected on the 1990 or 2000 Decennial Censuses.)

The Pew Research Center individual-level analyses include all people ages 18 and older. The majority of analyses are based upon two measures of remarriage:

  • One measure considers the share of the population that ever remarried, compared with the share of the population that ever divorced or was widowed. This indicates what proportion of people available to remarry have done so.
  • The other examines the share of presently married adults who are remarried, meaning they are in at least their second marriage.

Analysis based on newlyweds refers to individuals who report having married within 12 months of being surveyed. Because data regarding whether a respondent married in the past 12 months are not available in the Decennial Census, newlywed analyses are limited to 2013.

The couple-level analysis is based upon newlyweds who are living together, where at least one of the spouses is at least 18 years old. Data regarding the characteristics of spouses living apart are not available in the ACS.

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