‘Not been a great time for romance,’ with the fewest marriages in the United States since 1963

Forty-six states, including Illinois, reported declines in marriage rates in 2020, according to the CDC. Only Montana, Texas, Alabama and Utah saw increases.

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Wedding dresses on display at a bridal shop in East Dundee.

Wedding dresses on display at a bridal shop in East Dundee. Shutdowns resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic helped see far fewer Americans get married in the United States in 2020.

Teresa Crawford / AP

Far fewer Americans said “I do” during the first year of the pandemic, as many wedding plans were upended.

That’s according to a new report from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which said there were 1.7 million weddings across the nation in 2020. That was a drop of 17% from the year before and the fewest number of marriages in the United States recorded since 1963.

The plunge wasn’t a surprise since the U.S. marriage rate has been on the decline since 2016.

Still, the pandemic threw many marriage plans into disarray, with people told to stay at home and large gatherings banned in an effort to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

The CDC found that 46 states, including Illinois, reported declines in marriage rates in 2020.

Only four states reported increases — Montana, Texas, Alabama and Utah.

Hawaii saw the biggest drop — 48% — followed by California, where the number of marriages fell 44%.

Nevada — long a popular wedding destination — continued to have the nation’s highest marriage rate. But even that state saw a 19% decline in the first year of the pandemic.

“It’s not been a great time for romance,” said John Santelli, a professor at Columbia University’s school of public health.

The U.S. divorce rate also declined in 2020 but not as dramatically.

The latest report is based on marriage certificates filed with state and local governments in 2020. The CDC hasn’t yet released data on marriages in 2021.

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