Matrimony in Medical School

  • /Reviewed by: Amy Rontal, MD
  • In the last few months, we’ve noticed an interesting trend here at Med School Tutors: a large number of our tutors have either tied the knot recently, are currently engaged or were already happily wed when we hired them. The percentage of married tutors at our company rose to a staggering 33% in 2016! And we aren’t the only ones seeing this shift — a number of our tutors have noted to us, in voices peppered with no shortage of despondence, “Everyone I know is getting married.”

    Based on what we’re experiencing here and what our tutors have told us, you are no doubt finding something similar at your school. So we wanted to find out what’s actually behind this phenomenon. If you have ever wondered, “Is debridement secretly really arousing and I’m missing something? Why are all of my classmates getting married?,” you’ve come to the right place.

    The last study on marital demographics in med school was conducted in 2006. In it, out of the 1,701 students who responded, 56% were between the ages of 25-30, 35% were under 25 (the average age of students entering med school is currently 24) and the remaining 9% were over 30 years old. 54% of the students identified as female while 46% identified as male. Most relevant of all, 31% were married and an additional 11% had a “nonmarried partner.” As of 2016, many schools have reported the rates of married or engaged med students increase to as much as 50%, though there has yet to be a truly comprehensive survey on the subject. That being said, we can use what we have here to come to some solid conclusions.

    First off, there’s no indication that medical school itself is a cause for increased marriages or engagements — or at least no way to prove it. After all, we have no figures on how many students get married to other med students, much less ones at the same school. And although there are certainly numerous financial incentives for a student to put a ring on it, let’s assume that people are still getting married for, well, love. It makes it much easier to sleep at night that way.

    So what exactly, then, is going on? In an article appropriately titled, “When Will Everyone I Know Be Married?,” the data analysis blog FiveThirtyEight did some number-crunching on this very question. They found that the average age of first marriage is almost 27 for women and just over 28 for men, which falls squarely into the range of most med students. Additionally, they found that the percentage of married people by age rises dramatically starting at around 25 for men and 23 for women; by 30-33, the unwed are a minority among people their age.

    Given that many of your friends are likely to be fellow classmates, it can be hard to see the bigger picture outside the lecture hall, labs and wards. If you are an aspiring MD wondering why all your single classmates are falling one by one, just remember that you’re a millennial (or at least among predominately millennials) — it’s not just other students, everyone your age is starting to get married! Not exactly the most comforting thought, I know. But if it makes you feel any better, we here in the Med School Tutors office staff are going through the same existential crisis except for those who have gone down the aisle.