What Percent of High School Relationships Last? Full Stats (2022)

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Background Checks | October 10, 2022

Man on the left with his hand on his chin wonders what percent of high school relationships last until marriage and forever while looking at a graduating couple in the mirror on the left and the same couple in their elderly years in the middle.

Many individuals who are or have been in a high school relationship may be curious about what percent of high school relationships last.

Interestingly, the full statistics for this year reveal the same trends that previous data has shown: the vast majority of high school relationships don’t last very long. There are a ton of factors that can be examined to understand the likelihood of a relationship in high school surviving, but at the end of the day, it always depends on the couple.

So, what percentage of high school relationships last more than 5, 10, or even 20 years? Find the answers below.

Can High School Relationships Last Till Marriage?

Although relatively uncommon, it is absolutely possible for a high school relationship to last until marriage. When it comes to high school relationships and virtually every relationship, there are a ton of personal and environmental factors that can influence the chance of the couple staying together for any period of time.

US Census data screenshot with yellow arrow pointing to economic security and marriage rates for young adults.

The U.S. Census department categorizes data collected during each ten-year census, and the statistics are broken down based on various categories, such as what percentage of high school marriages last and family household composition after a major economic event.

Since there are so many different things that can cause a romantic couple to separate it is impossible to predict which couples will stay together and which ones won’t. However, looking at relationship and marriage statistics can give individuals a pretty good idea.

One of the first things that can be looked at is the probability of a relationship making it for more than a year. High school relationships are notoriously unstable due to a lack of maturity on the part of both individuals. Not only are the individuals limited to a small pool of potential partners but hormones and maturity levels tend to be all over the place, especially amongst younger high school couples.

As couples mature and understand what they want both out of a relationship and out of life, the possibility for a more long-term relationship also grows.

Some studies have shown that the average high school relationship length increases with the age of those in the relationship.

Age GroupHow Long the Average Relationship Lasts
12-14About 5 months on average
15-16About 6 months to 1 year on average
17-18About 2 years on average
20’sAbout 4 years or more on average
30’sAbout 5 years or longer on average
30-5910 years or longer on average

The majority of people will have guessed the correlation between age and the length of a relationship. Most individuals change what they want out of a relationship and out of life more frequently when they are younger. Teenagers may want to move abroad for one year and then decide they like their hometown. Some may have educational or professional ambitions that change by the year.

As individuals get older they are able to slowly but surely narrow down what they want out of life.

Essentially, the younger the couples are the more likely that one of them will change their mind about what they want which will inherently cause a rift in the relationship. Of course, it is possible to overcome such obstacles but the more obstacles that a relationship is subjected to the more likely the relationship will fail.

Can Teenage Love Last Forever? What Percent of High School Relationships Last Into Marriage?

So it’s possible for a high school relationship to eventually result in marriage but how likely is this and what percent of high school relationships last forever? It can be hard to say exactly due to insufficient data but most experts and studies tend to conclude that 2% of existing marriages are between individuals who have been romantically involved since high school.

There are a lot of factors to consider, mainly when individuals are most likely to separate, and if they make it past these milestones, at which point does it become likely that the relationship will last forever or at least 10 years of marriage?

US Marriage and divorce rates by state screenshot of US census data chart.

As expected, the amount of high school relationships that make it to high school graduation, assuming both individuals are in the same grade is extremely low and is likely right around 2%. However, very few couples will be getting married within minutes of their high school graduation ceremony taking place, so it is safe to assume that the relationship will need to survive another two years at the very least until the couple is 20 years old before marriage becomes a major consideration for them.

In this case, college becomes the biggest factor amongst American high school couples. The odds of a relationship ending increase dramatically when the individuals attend different colleges and the relationships become long-distance. Understanding this phenomenon is fairly simple, the average teenager will only have been exposed to their hometown and high school and the first few months to a year at college will be filled with tons of new experiences, places, and people that they simply have never been exposed to before.

This is commonly known as the “turkey-drop,” which refers to the large amounts of college relationships ending during thanksgiving break, likely when the couple return to their hometown and visit after having several months of new experiences to settle into.

Just like with high school relationships only surviving past graduation 2% of the time, less than 2% of high school relationships will make it past a year of college.

Distance is one of the biggest factors for this besides the opportunity to experience new things and the subsequent changing of goals and values that tends to come with this. Interestingly, this correlation is actually supported by some evidence that suggests high school couples that go to the same college have a much better chance of the relationship lasting.

This makes sense given that communication is one of the biggest factors that can lead to separation as well as the fact that shared experiences are also a common factor in a relationship growing stronger.

Type of RelationshipPercent of Relationships That Last
Students that start college in a relationshipAround 50%
Do college relationships last?High School Relationships that last through college – Less than 2%
Do college freshman relationships last?High School Relationships that last through freshman year of college -Less than 5%

High School Sweetheart Divorce Rates

Assuming the couple made it through high school and through the next several years, whether or not they went to college, then the next logical step for most couples is marriage. Once again, age is the primary factor in determining whether or not the relationship will make it past the 10-year mark without a divorce.

The national divorce rate is something that many people are familiar with due to the fact that for years it has been reported that the American divorce rate is around 50% of all marriages.2 However recent data support that the national divorce rate is actually lower than 50 and has been decreasing steadily for over a decade, and that when comparing the divorce rates by state, the largest areas of divorce are rural.

Despite this, the amount of married high school sweethearts that get divorced before their 10-year wedding anniversary is around 54%. However, there is also evidence that supports that this correlation is more likely due to the age of the individuals rather than the fact they had been together since high school.

What Percent of High School Relationships Last Forever?

High school couples can learn how to find divorce records online for free, or search a specific state for how to find out if a person is divorced for free online.

Since high school couples have often been together for several years by the time they hit marriage age, many choose to get married at what is often considered a very young age. The fact that the younger the couple is the more likely they are to get divorced,1 skews that data against high school couples.

Screenshot of United States Census website page about Visualizations with yellow arrows pointed to the Marriage and Divorce Visualizations.

In fact, studies have shown that high school sweethearts who get married at 20 are far more likely to get divorced when compared to high school sweethearts who choose to wait until they are at least 25 to get married. By simply waiting 5 years the chance of the couple’s marriage lasting more than 10 years increases dramatically.1

Can Teenage Love Last ForeverTeenage Relationship Statistics
What percent of high school relationships last 2022?Around 2% of high school relationships will last as far as high school graduation.
What percent of high school relationships last into marriage?Less than 2% of marriages are between high school sweethearts.
What percent of high school relationships last forever?Less than 1% of high school relationships last “forever” (more than 10 years of marriage)
Percentage of high school relationships that last through collegeLess than 2% of high school relationships last through college
What percentage of high school sweethearts get divorced?54% of high school sweethearts will get divorced in the first 10 years of marriage.
How many teenage relationships last until marriage?Less than 2% of teenage relationships will last until marriage
Percent of high school sweethearts who stay together?Less than 2% of high school sweethearts will stay together.

Why Don’t High School Relationships Last? (What Percentage of High School Relations Ships Last More Than 10 Years?)

Maturity is the biggest factor when determining the most common reasons that high school relationships don’t last. As individuals go through adolescence their life goals will change dramatically and often and these new goals and aspirations will not always be compatible with their significant other.

There are also some factors that are often impossible to avoid such as the parents of one individual moving and forcing the relationship to become long-distance as well as college admission having the same effect.

Psychology of High School Sweethearts

High school sweethearts tend to have different psychology than couples that met later in life. The biggest reason for this is not how long the couple has been together but how old they were when they were together.

As mentioned, there are a lot of changes that individuals go through emotionally during their teenage years. Relationships that are able to turn these changes into bonding experiences tend to make the relationship stronger than would otherwise be possible between couples that met as adults.

This shared experience is often what leads many high school sweethearts to marriages that are far more stable and have less conflict than the average marriage.

Marrying High School Sweetheart Later in Life

Some people who are wondering what percent of high school relationships last may refer to a relationship that may have ended for a while, only to be rekindled as adults. Hypothetically this can be a way to get the best of both worlds. Both parties will be able to grow as individuals but still be able to share past experiences from adolescence that have already strengthened their bond to a certain extent.

Affairs With High School Sweethearts

Some studies also suggest that individuals are more likely to have extramarital affairs when the third party is a high school sweetheart to one of the marriage parties.

Many couples end up asking, how do I get a copy of my divorce decree.

Why High School Sweethearts Have the Strongest Relationships

However, sometimes, high school couples have stronger relationships than any others. (The ones who make it without a marriage background check or premarital background check, that is.) Individuals who understand the basic psychology of a healthy relationship can easily see why high school sweethearts have such healthy relationships.

If a relationship lasted through high school, and college and resulted in a marriage,1 then several assumptions can be made.

1. Shared Experiences

Sharing major life experiences and changes can either make or break a relationship. Either the stress will be too much and the relationship will end, or the couple will take on the task together and strengthen their relationship in the process.

Couples that have been through a time as turbulent as teenage years can be will likely have lots of shared experiences that made them grow stronger.

2. Familiarity

A couple that has been married for 5 years may not sound like a terribly long time, but if they were high school sweethearts it means they have possibly been together for over a decade. Communication is arguably the most important part of a successful relationship.

A couple that has been together for over 10 years has a much better chance of being able to communicate with each other effectively.

3. Shared Goals

The new life goals that tend to appear during college years can be a major stress factor for a relationship. What kind of jobs the individuals want are just one of a ton of life decisions that they will likely start to think about. Does one party want to live in the city and the other the country? Does one want to explore the world and the other settle down and start a family?

These questions often lead to breakups, however, if the couple is able to answer these questions in a way that allows their goals to align, the relationship will grow stronger.

US Census data screenshot with yellow arrows pointing to the number, timing, and duration of marriages and divorces.

Similar to a shared experience in their younger years allowing them to grow stronger, experiencing triumph and disappointment together in their adult life will have the same effect.

Pros and Cons of Marrying Your High School Sweetheart

Although making a pro and con list when deciding if you want to marry someone may not be the most romantic thing in the world, being able to understand anxieties that lead you to ask questions like “what percent of high school relationships last,” may reveal what is important to you in a relationship.

Every relationship is different since everyone has different values. Some couples may be co-dependent whereas others may value their independence and want to be with someone who they can rely on but won’t obstruct personal goals.

Finding out what you want out of a relationship is extremely important and knowing the common pros and cons of other relationships is a great way to do so. Below are some of the most common pros and cons of couples that are married and have been romantically involved with each other since high school or teenage years.

ProsCons
Familiarity with partners leads to better communicationHigh school couples that are married by the age of 20 have a higher than average chance of getting divorced.
Growing and changing together can make a relationship strongerLack of independence can be an issue if you are codependent for long periods of time.
You know what to expect from each other after being together for a long period of time.Lack of emotional maturity is a major issue for high school sweethearts that get married young
A better understanding of your partner if you were with them through personal hardships.The potential of an impulse marriage due to circumstances such as college etc.
Many of the common relationship issues will have worked themselves out early in the relationshipMany relationship issues from high school can survive and grow into adulthood.

Once again, age is the primary standout. Most of the issues that arise from couples getting young come from the individuals not knowing exactly what they want from life yet. This means that sometimes individuals feel pressured into getting married even if they aren’t sure they want to be married at all.

Couples that have been together since they are very young are also simply not exposed to enough experience yet to be able to make informed decisions.

Unfortunately, this is a major factor in relationships that involve abuse. In many cases, the individual that is the victim of the abuse has not had enough exposure to other people and to other relationships to be able to recognize abuse and know that it is not normal or healthy. This leads to many young individuals getting married and the cycle of the abusive relationship continuing until they get divorced.

Being able to understand what is important in a relationship and knowing the common stressors are great steps to take to strengthen your own relationship. Just keep in mind that when it comes to questions like “what percent of high school relationships last?” the numbers only tell part of the story.

Frequently Asked Questions About What Percent of High School Relationships Last

Do High School Relationships Last in College?

Very few relationships last through college, some studies indicate less than 2%. However, attending the same school tends to increase the chance of the relationship lasting.

What Percent of High School Relationships Last Through College?

Less than 2% of high school relationships last through college.


References

1U.S. Census Bureau. (2022, July 6). Marriage and Divorce. United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 12, 2022, from <https://www.census.gov/topics/families/marriage-and-divorce.html>

2U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. (2022, February 7). Marriages and Divorces. CDC Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved August 12, 2022, from <https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/marriage-divorce.htm>

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