Study Examines Data on Women’s Decisions on Changing Their Last Names After Marriage

A new study from the Pew Research Center finds that today in America nearly eight of every 10 women who get married take their husband’s last name. Some 79 percent of women in opposite-sex marriages say they took their spouse’s last name when they got married. Another 14 percent kept their last name, and 5 percent hyphenated both their name and their spouse’s name. (The survey did not include data on same-sex marriages.)

Women who have never been married have mixed views. A third say they would take their spouse’s last name, 23 percent would keep their last name, 17 percent would hyphenate both names and 24 percent aren’t sure.

One in five married women ages 18 to 49 say they kept their last name, compared with 9 percent of those ages 50 and older. Some 26 percent of married women with a postgraduate degree kept their last name, compared with 13 percent of those with a bachelor’s degree and 11 percent of those with some college or less education.

Democratic and Democratic-leaning women are twice as likely as Republican and Republican-leaning women to say they kept their last name (20 percent vs. 10 percent). Nearly one third of Hispanic women say they kept their last name, compared with 10 percent of White women and 9 percent of Black women. Black women are more likely than White women to say they hyphenated their and their spouse’s last names, and White women are the most likely to say they took their husband’s last name.

Filed Under: Research/Study

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