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Post-pandemic marriage rates rising, divorces falling with love, not COVID, in the air: new CDC data

Here comes the bride — and there go the divorce papers.

Marriages have been on the rise while legal breakups have been dwindling since weddings and dates were put on pause during the COVID-19 pandemic — an apparent silver lining to long lockdowns.

The number of marriages jumped from 5.1 per 1,000 people in 2020 to 6.2 by 2022 — the highest rate observed since 2018 — according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

There were more than 2,065,000 marriages in 2022, marking the first time the U.S. hit the 2 million mark since 2019.

And it turns out that New York recorded the highest percentage increase — a 21% spike — in 2022 compared with 2021.

Perhaps love does conquer all.

Amanda, 29, and Lenny Bellezza, 32, were dating for several years before the COVID-19 pandemic forced the world to stay inside.

“When we quarantined in our Queens apartment, we did all the things everyone else did: puzzles, tie-dyed clothes, binged every season of ‘Survivor’ and spent so much time with each other and our dog,” Amanda told The Post.

“After quarantining together in a small apartment for over a year, we knew we were ready to spend the rest of our lives together.”

Amanda and Lenny Bellezza were dating for several years before the COVID-19 pandemic forced the world to stay inside. Off BEET Productions
Amanda and Lenny Bellezza were dating for several years before the COVID-19 pandemic forced the world to stay inside. Off BEET Productions

The couple got engaged in 2021 and tied the knot in New Jersey in 2023 with their good boy Bronson by their side.

New Yorkers Trevina Tadros, 32, and Andrew Metri, 31, got hitched in the summer of 2022. Rick Rosa
New Yorkers Trevina Tadros, 32, and Andrew Metri, 31, got hitched in the summer of 2022. Rick Rosa

New Yorker Trevina Tadros, 32, also knew Andrew Metri, 31, was the one right when they got together.

“I had no intentions of pursuing marriage before being with him,” Trevina told The Post, adding that she took the decision to accept the ring on her finger “extremely” seriously.

Experts suggest that the rise is due to more than the end of lockdowns, explaining that the hardships of the pandemic and current societal trends have changed how people enter into and handle relationships.

“The fact that we navigated it together so well certainly wasn’t overlooked,” Trevina told The Post.

The Long Island natives married in New York on June 4, 2022.

The number of marriages jumped from 5.1 per 1,000 people in 2020 to 6.2 by 2022 — the highest rate observed since 2018 — according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Wedding photography – stock.adobe.com
The number of marriages jumped from 5.1 per 1,000 people in 2020 to 6.2 by 2022 — the highest rate observed since 2018 — according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Wedding photography – stock.adobe.com

“People are realizing the consequences of being lonely,” Elisabeth Goldberg, a licensed marriage and family therapist, told The Post.

“They do want to find a partner and are saying to themselves, ‘You know what? I’m going to be less picky. Let me think more about my values.'”

The marriage rate is still low compared to the past two decades when the number of marriages stayed around seven to eight per 1,000 people a year — but it comes as divorces continue on a downward trend.

The divorce rate in 2000 was four per 1,000 people a year, compared to just 2.4 in 2022.

The marriage rate is still low compared to the past two decades when the number of marriages stayed around seven to eight per 1,000 people a year — but it comes as divorces continue on a downward trend. Igor – stock.adobe.com
The marriage rate is still low compared to the past two decades when the number of marriages stayed around seven to eight per 1,000 people a year — but it comes as divorces continue on a downward trend. Igor – stock.adobe.com

“In my practice over the last decade, I’ve noticed a gradual shift from the ‘romantic marriage’ to the ‘companionate marriage,’ meaning that people are increasingly choosing spouses at the outset who are more like best friends than passion partners,” Ian Kerner, a licensed marriage and family therapist, told CNN.

For example, heterosexual women, especially Gen Zers, are “rusting” — romanticizing and lusting — after men they consider to be “babygirl.”

A man who is “babygirl” comes across as sweet, charming, a bit bashful and seemingly in touch with their feminine side, ready to talk about their feelings or carry a purse to brunch at any point.

It’s partially been spurred by women’s increased independence and well-being.

“In past generations, in certain circles, there was still this, you know, ‘We need to partner up because we need the financial stability, the housing stability.’ And roles have been created and cultural roles have switched,” Dr. Judy Ho, a certified and licensed clinical and forensic neuropsychologist and author of “The New Rules of Attachment,” told The Post.

In fact, women today are outpacing men in graduating from college and buying homes, are out-earning men in several states and freezing their eggs to take the pressure off of rushing into parenthood.

“That frees up women to be able to look for partnerships where, you know, ‘This is truly fulfilling to me,’ as opposed to, ‘I need it for logistical reasons.’ And so that’s probably also why we’re seeing more of a trend of people really having those deeper relationships that mean something other than just a physical safety or stability,” she added.

The rate of divorce in 2000 was four per 1,000 people a year, compared to just 2.4 in 2022. lisovoy – stock.adobe.com
The rate of divorce in 2000 was four per 1,000 people a year, compared to just 2.4 in 2022. lisovoy – stock.adobe.com

“Women are fiercely independent. Women don’t need men. So I think that women have priorities that are better for them,” Adam Cohen-Aslatei, director of Tawkify matchmaking service, previously told The Post about the “babygirl” trend.

“It used to be that the connotation of masculine was you can be a tough guy, a protector physically, and I think that the concept of, like, an emotional protector being there for you is something that’s become more important than just someone’s physical presence.”

And that appears to be backed up by Bumble’s 2024 Dating Trends report.

It found that a majority (87%) of people on the dating app agreed that kindness is now the most important quality,