Study reveals majority of women took their husband's last name after marriage

A new survey shows that the tradition of taking a husband's last name is still quite common. 

Researchers at the Pew Research Center asked more than 5,000 U.S. married adults whether they changed their last name after marriage. The survey was conducted between April 10-16, 2023.

How many people changed their last name after marriage?

The center found that most women in opposite-sex marriages (79%) said they took their spouse’s last name when they got married. Another 14% kept their last name, and 5% hyphenated both their name and their spouse’s name.

Among men in opposite-sex marriages, the vast majority (92%) said they kept their last name, while only 5% took their spouse’s last name. Less than 1% of men hyphenated both names.


Couple sign wedding certificate, marriage registration and document paper for legal union. (Credit: Getty Images)

The women who decide to keep their own last name after tying the knot include those who are younger, identify as Democrats, are Hispanic or have completed a postgraduate degree, according to the survey.

The numbers of women and men in same-sex marriages in the sample were too small to analyze separately.

How many people would change their last name if they got married?

The researchers also asked people who have never been married whether they would change their last name if they were to tie the knot.

Women who have never been married have mixed views on this with 33% saying they would take their spouse’s last name and 23% saying they would keep their last name. Another 17% of women said they would hyphenate both names and 24% aren’t sure.

Among men, 73% say they would keep their last name, and 20% weren’t sure. Only 2% of men said they would take their spouse’s last name.

Marriage may be on the decline

Another recent study shows that wedding bells aren’t ringing as much nowadays. 

The Thriving Center of Psychology surveyed more than 900 millennials and Gen Zers who were  in a relationship but not married to learn about their living situations and future expectations. 

They found that even though the majority of survey respondents hope to tie the knot someday (83%), many weren’t in a rush to do it.

And, the reason may come down to the cost. 

The study found 73% of respondents felt it’s too expensive to get married in the current economy. The data also found that 1 in 2 (54%) of respondents still moved in with their partner, in part, due to finances. 

Last year, the national average cost of a wedding was $30,000, which was a $2,000 increase from the previous year, according to a survey published by The Knot. 

This story was reported from Los Angeles.