The Surprising Reasons Women Are Keeping Their Maiden Names

Photo: Bride Wars, 20th Century Fox
This post was originally published on June 27, 2015.

One of the most difficult things about getting married, aside from the abhorrently expensive wedding, dealing with in-laws, and attempting to find the "perfect dress," is deciding whether or not to change your last name.

The maiden name debate has raged strong over the past few decades. In the 1970s, it was a political statement to keep your last name, a nod to the feminist movement.

In the 1980s, no one seemed to care anymore – they threw those maiden names right out the window. Recently, however, the trend of keeping ones maiden name is on the upswing, and the reasons why may surprise you.

In an expansive piece by the New York Times, it is revealed that about 20 percent of women married in recent years have decided to keep their last name, a significant increase over the 14 percent in the 1980s. The data was determined using a Google Consumer Survey.

Laurie Scheuble, a sociology professor at Penn State who studies marital naming, asserts the change to a number of reasons, including the fact that women are attending college at higher rates than men, high profile celebrities are more prone to maintain their maiden names, and couples commonly live together before marriage.

“When they do get around to marrying, they’ve already lived in a household with two names," Scheuble said. "Maybe it seems normal to them."

The data, in addition to a study of the Times wedding announcement section, also showed an interesting correlation between income level and the decision to keep a maiden name. Higher-income urban women were far more likely to stick with their maiden name, as evidenced by the analysis of 7,835 wedding announcements over the course of five years.

Check out the piece here – it sheds some really interesting light on how politics, religion, income and education play into one's decision to change last names. Or, if you are like me, you are just too lazy to do it. Whoops.

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