Age disparities in relationships: statistics

Andrey Kamenov

Andrey Kamenov, Ph.D. Probability and Statistics

Males are older than their partners in two-thirds of all unmarried straight couples. In 22 percent of all cases, the difference is greater than five years. The opposite case, where the female is at least five years older, takes place in just 10 percent of all relationships.

Here’s the detailed chart showing the complete distribution.

Age disparity in unmarried couples

Two things are immediately apparent from the distribution plot. First, males are older than their partners on average. Second, the distribution also has a positive skew. That means that an above-average male-to-female age gap is more common than the converse.

Let’s see which (if any) factors influence age disparities in relationships.

Factors influencing age disparity

Here we focus on unmarried couples, mostly due to the legal status of gay marriage being different across the country. It appears that the age gap is generally larger for gay couples. In particular, the median gap is almost one year greater than it is for straight couples.

One — or both — of the partners having a degree is also statistically linked to smaller age disparities in relationships. However, it’s possible that this can be explained by the fact that many couples actually meet in college.

Median (absolute) age gap in unmarried couples by state

Some of the highest numbers can be observed in Maine, New Mexico and Florida, where the median age gap is above three years.

Utah and Kansas lie on the other end of the spectrum. In these states, half of all couples have an age difference of no more than two years.


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About Andrey Kamenov

Andrey Kamenov

Andrey Kamenov, Ph.D. Probability and Statistics

Andrey Kamenov is a data scientist working for Advameg Inc. His background includes teaching statistics, stochastic processes and financial mathematics in Moscow State University and working for a hedge fund. His academic interests range from statistical data analysis to optimal stopping theory. Andrey also enjoys his hobbies of photography, reading and powerlifting.

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