Updated November 30, 2013

Study: Best Cities for Newlyweds

She likes the coast, he likes the Midwest. She prefers warm weather, but he wants a mix of weather patterns. No one said compromise was easy, especially when it comes to deciding on where a couple new to marriage should live. We've done the hard work for you by evaluating the major metropolitan areas for the 10 cities that will give newlyweds the most promising start to their lives together.

Study Methodology

Looking at U.S. metropolitan areas with populations over 1 million, we considered the following factors:

  1. Percentage of married couples. A study by the University of Maryland, Baltimore found couples who have friendships with other married couples are more likely to succeed in their own marriage. Couples who live near a higher percentage of married couples will be more likely to mingle with their own kind, so to speak, and will be more likely to have a lasting marriage.

  2. Divorce rate. If an area has a lower number of official breakups, it could foster a good environment for married couples, so we factored in the divorce rate for each city’s adult population.

  3. Average credit score. Even the strongest of marriages will teeter over money problems. For this reason, we also looked at the average credit score for each city’s residents. A study by the University of Utah found couples who fight over finances are more than 30 percent likely to get divorced than couples who rarely argue about financial matters. A strong credit score means couples are more likely to qualify for a new home or car and could indicate the couple is financially secure.

  4. Average hours residents work per week. The Center for Marriage and Families found the No. 1 stressor for newlywed couples is an unbalanced relationship between work and family. The less time at work, the more time can be spent together.

10 Best Cities for Newlyweds

1. Atlanta, GA

Atlanta, Georgia
Atlanta, Georgia

  • Percentage of married households: 71%
  • Percent of divorced residents: 10.9%
  • Average credit score: 654
  • Average hours worked per week: 35.3

Atlanta is the No. 1 city in the country for newlyweds. It has, by far, the most married households in the city, and it offers a support system for those who have gotten hitched. For example, the Southern city has several meet-ups and events for young married couples to get to know each other. It is also the home of The Atlanta Center for Marriages, which offers Christian-based counseling for couples before and during marriage. There’s also the Atlanta Area Marriage Encounter, a retreat for married couples to reignite their romance.

2. San Jose, CA

San Jose, California
San Jose, California

  • Percentage of married households: 54%
  • Percent of divorced residents: 8.2%
  • Average credit score: 700
  • Average hours worked per week: 36.3

With a very low divorce rate and high average credit score, San Jose is the second-best place for newlyweds to pick as a place to live. San Jose also has the highest annual mean income available at $69,000 a year. And it’s been shown to be a place where newlyweds want to plant their roots. Last year, an episode of the popular show House Hunters featured a newly married couple searching for their first home in San Jose.

3. Boston, MA

Boston, Massachusetts
Boston, Massachusetts

  • Percentage of married households: 47%
  • Percent of divorced residents: 8.9%
  • Average credit score: 702
  • Average hours worked per week: 34.3

Boston has a very high Catholic population, which tends to have a very low divorce rate. And it has another factor in its favor, as well: As the first state to legalize gay marriage, Massachusetts has been attracting same-sex couples to begin their married life here. In addition, local companies have followed suit by providing benefits to same-sex spouses.

Boston residents also have a soft spot for helping other newlyweds. When a young, newly married husband and wife were both injured in the Boston Marathon bombings, the community rallied together to raise funds for their medical care.

4. Buffalo, N.Y.

Buffalo, New York
Buffalo, New York

  • Percentage of married households: 42%
  • Percent of divorced residents: 10.3%
  • Average credit score: 683
  • Average hours worked per week: 31.8

Buffalo has one of the lowest average hours worked per week at less than 32 hours, which means Buffalo residents have more time to spend with their partner. And the Buffalo History Museum has celebrated the beginnings of marriage. In early 2013 it held a wedding-dress contest, and it is in the process of collecting memorabilia for same-sex marriages, which have been allowed in the state of New York since 2011.

5. New York, NY

New York, New York
New York, New York

  • Percentage of married households: 46%
  • Percent of divorced residents: 8%
  • Average credit score: 685
  • Average hours worked per week: 34.9

New York ranks fifth on the list because of its very low divorce rate: only 8 percent of people in the city have had a marriage fall apart. Couples in New York also marry at an older age, which means they are more likely to be successful one of the most common reasons for divorce is marrying too young. And it’s inspiring; New York was the location where Lauren and David Blair broke the world record for the most wedding ceremonies for one couple. They have tied the knot a total of 106 times.

6. Philadelphia, PA

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

  • Percentage of married households: 46%
  • Percent of divorced residents: 9%
  • Average credit score: 684
  • Average hours worked per week: 34.2

The city of brotherly love is also a great location for married couples in love. The divorce rate and average hours worked per week are both very low. Married couples in Philadelphia also are proactive about their finances – a recent Philadelphia trend found many married couples in the city are choosing to sign post-nups to ensure their assets are secure in case of divorce.

7. Washington, DC

Washington, DC
Washington, DC

  • Percentage of married households: 48%
  • Percent of divorced residents: 8.9%
  • Average credit score: 690
  • Average hours worked per week: 35.3

The nation's capital ranks seventh on the list because nearly half of all households are married, and the city has a very low divorce rate. A popular blog out of the city, called The Freckled Citizen, follows resident Maggie as she discovers the city as a newlywed. If a couple decides to get married here, there's the possibility of a celebrity appearance. Steven Tyler, lead singer of Aerosmith, recently walked into a wedding reception at The Four Seasons in D.C.

8. Raleigh, NC

Raleigh, North Carolina
Raleigh, North Carolina

  • Percentage of married households: 52%
  • Percent of divorced residents: 9.6%
  • Average credit score: 668
  • Average hours worked per week: 35.2

Raleigh is the second Southern city to make the list because of its high percentage of married households. Raleigh also was named in a study about the best cities for newlyweds because of the city's plentiful rental inventory, low cost of living, and high number of young professionals moving to the area.

9. San Francisco, Calif.

San Francisco, California
San Francisco, California

  • Percentage of married households: 47%
  • Percent of divorced residents: 9.6%
  • Average credit score: 696
  • Average hours worked per week: 34.6

San Francisco is the second California city to make the top 10. In June, the city ordered additional marriage licenses be printed and extended its hours for ceremonies after the Supreme Court struck down Proposition 8. There are also plenty of things to do to keep newlyweds busy, such as visiting Fisherman’s Wharf, shopping, going to museums, or exercising together by walking up and down the city’s hilly terrain.

10. Minneapolis, MN

Minneapolis, Minnesota
Minneapolis, Minnesota

  • Percentage of married households: 50%
  • Percent of divorced residents: 10%
  • Average credit score: 691
  • Average hours worked per week: 34.8

Minneapolis ranks 10th and rounds out the list of the best cities for newlyweds. Minneapolis residents have an above-average income and work on average less than 35 hours a week. Minneapolis also is home to newlywed coaches like Adrienne Laursen, who specializes in helping couples in the first five years of their marriage.

This list highlights the cities with the highest likelihood that newlyweds will have a successful marriage. Couples will have to make other considerations, as well, such as proximity to family friends (as well as any compromise either spouse needs to make about their weather preferences). We considered only the country's top 50 metropolitan areas based on population, and not smaller cities. Before couples decide on a city, they should visit the area to make sure it fits their lifestyle.

Sources used in this study:

  • U.S. Census married couples per capita
  • U.S. Census divorce rates
  • Experian's average credit scores by city
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics average hours worked by city in June 2013

Tracy Jones is a contributing writer at CreditDonkey, a diamond jeweler comparison and reviews website. Write to Tracy Jones at tracy@creditdonkey.com. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for our latest posts.

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