(M. Terry/SFVS) A Valentine’s Day display at San Fernando Florist.

Love is in the air as Valentine’s Day draws near, the time to show that special someone how much you care. 

However, perhaps not as much for married couples in California since the rate of marriages in the state — and nationally — has significantly decreased since 2009. 

A report by QuoteWizard found that the rate of marriages in the United States has fallen 45 percent. However, the divorce rate has also declined by 21 percent, indicating that fewer people are getting married, but fewer couples are separating as well. 

Additionally, one in three Americans has never been married. Only four states — Delaware, New Jersey, New Mexico, and North Dakota — had an increase in divorces. 

In California, marriages are down by 49 percent while the number of divorces has declined by 27 percent. The state has the lowest number of divorces in the country (nine per 1,000 residents) and ranks second in the percentage of people who have never been married, only behind New York, at 38 percent. 

Nick VinZant, a senior research analyst at QuoteWizard, found that the reason for the decrease in marriages is too complex to be pinned to any singular issue, but points to the declining societal pressure on getting married for younger people as one of the main reasons. 

“There hasn’t been much of an emphasis on getting married,” VinZant said. “I think that a lot of the younger generation is either not getting married or they’re getting married later in life, and it’s not as much of a priority as it was in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s.” 

Looking at the price tag of having a wedding, it is not much of a surprise many would be turned off at the idea. The average cost of a wedding in California is $39,000, a steep price tag for many poor and working-class families.  

As for the declining number of divorces, VinZant gave three main reasons: the decrease in marriages, and therefore a decrease in divorces; people getting married nowadays because they truly want to be married, not out of pressure to do so; and the expense of getting a divorce. 

The average cost of divorce in California for a couple with no kids is $17,500; a couple with children meanwhile faces an average of $26,000.  

The average total costs for divorce lawyers range from $12,500 to $15,300. The cost can rise higher if the couple has contested issues in their divorce — child custody, alimony, and dividing marital property — and if they decide to go to trial. 

Couples with no contested issues waited an average of eight months to get their final divorce decree, while those who went to trial had to wait 16 months. 

Income plays a significant factor into whether a person gets married. Men who make more money are more likely to be getting married, while women who make more money are more likely to be divorced. 

About 78 percent of men who make more than $100,000 are married — the highest percentage by far out of all income levels — and 14 percent of women who make between $75,000 and $100,000 are divorced. 

2019 U.S. Census Bureau data show that 49 percent of residents in the City of San Fernando are married. The rate of people who have never been married is higher for men, while those who are married or divorced is higher for women.  

While he does not yet have hard numbers, VinZant said the pandemic put the declining rates in “a bit of a stasis” as people were not getting married or divorced.  

“People have been a little [more] hesitant throughout the pandemic to get divorced, but that is part of a larger decline in divorce rates that has been going on since 2009,” he said. “It’s a bump in the trend.” 

The time for gifting red roses and heart-shaped boxes of chocolate is fast approaching, but much of it may not be between married couples. Although some have decided not to tie the knot, some will still celebrate the holiday of love their own way.