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Most married women still take husband’s last name: report

Nearly 80 percent of women in opposite-sex marriages still choose to take their spouse's last name, a new study shows.
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Story at a glance


  • A new Pew Research Center survey found that 79 percent of women in opposite-sex marriages chose to take their spouse’s last name.

  • Younger women with post-graduate degrees were the most likely to keep their last name after marriage.  

  • A small percentage of men chose to challenge tradition and take their wife’s last name, the survey found.  

Almost 80 percent of all women in opposite-sex marriages are still choosing to take their husband’s last name, according to a Pew Research Center report published Thursday.  

In a survey of 2,437 people in opposite-sex marriages, Pew researchers found that 79 percent of women chose to change their last name to their spouse’s after marriage.  

Another 14 percent of women kept their name after marriage and 5 percent decided to hyphenate both their name and their spouse’s name.


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Younger women and women with advanced degrees were more likely to keep their last names, the report shows.  

The report shows that 20 percent of married women between the ages of 18 and 49 kept their last name while 9 percent of women 50 years old and older chose to do the same.  

Similarly, 26 percent of married women with postgraduate degrees kept their last names while 13 percent of married women with a bachelor’s degree and 11 percent of married women with some college education or less chose to keep their names.  

Pew researchers also found that ethnicity and political leanings also correlated to whether a married woman took her spouse’s name.  

Democratic and Democratic-leaning women were far more likely to keep their last name after marriage.  

While 20 percent of Democratic and Democratic-leaning married chose to keep their names, just 10 percent of Republican and Republican-leaning married women chose to do the same.  

Hispanic women are the most likely to keep their name after getting married, according to the report.  

Out of survey respondents, 30 percent of married women who identified as Hispanic said they kept their name.  

Meanwhile, 10 percent of White women kept their last name after marriage and 9 percent of married Black women kept their name.  

Black women are more likely than White women to hyphenate their name with their spouse’s, according to the report.  

The Pew survey also found that a small percentage of men in opposite-sex marriages—5 percent—took their wife’s last name.  

The research was taken from a larger survey of 5,073 U.S. adults conducted from April 10-16.


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