Women's Day Study: 3 out of 4 Women Change Last Names in Marriage

Press Release · 27.02.2024 · 5min read

For 3 out of 4 American women changed their name (75%) after marriage or formalization.

Hamburg, February 27, 2024 – International Women's Day is celebrated annually on March 8th. On this day, the focus is on female empowerment, gender equality, and the right to self-determination. However, despite significant legal changes in recent years, old laws remain deeply entrenched in society. Until the 70s, women in the USA were obliged to adopt their husband's surname. Yet, despite having the freedom to choose, this principle largely persists today. What is the American perspective on this tradition, and how does it compare globally? The market research institute Appinio conducted national representative surveys of 1,000 individuals each in the USA, Germany, and France* – revealing that one country differs from the others.


Key Insights:

  • 3 out of 4 American women changed their name after marriage or formalization (75%) – compared to 13% of men.

  • 72% of Americans (strongly) support taking the same last name in a formal partnership.

  • Only 13% of Americans in a marriage or formalized partnership choose not to change to a common name.

*Citation: The surveys were conducted by Appinio from January 30th to 31st, 2024, and on February 14th, 2024. 1,000 individuals were surveyed in the USA, Germany, and France, aged 16 to 65 years old, nationally representative for age and gender of their respective national populations.


Shared last name – a symbol of identity and unity?

When it comes to a shared last name, Americans still think traditionally: Compared to women (75%), only 13% of men stated that they changed their last name after marriage or formalizing the partnership. The main reasons for a mutual name change are creating a shared identity (64%), symbolic unity (61%), and personal preferences (50%). Cultural and familial reasons were also frequently mentioned (49%). Americans generally maintain their relationships rather traditional: While almost half (48%) of Americans are married, 15% are in a relationship, and 3% are in a civil partnership.


Americans and Germans prefer it traditionally – French not so much

Similar to Americans, Germans also view name alignment favorably: 72% stated that they (strongly) support this tradition. Here too, significantly more women (70%) reported having changed their last name compared to men (16%). Overall, Americans are slightly more likely to be married than Germans (48% to 43%).

It's a different story with the French: Almost every other respondent (45%) stated that they would not consider having a shared last name (compared to 21% of Americans or Germans), with individuality and autonomy cited as the main reasons (57%). Equally, almost every third French person (31%) stated that neither partner changed their last name after marriage or formalization. And generally, fewer people in France are married (31%) compared to the USA or Germany. Nevertheless, when the last name is changed in a partnership, 70% of the time it's done by women. Only one in ten French men (11%) stated that they changed their last name after formalizing their relationship.

Important Links 

  • Access the international study findings in the Appinio dashboard here.



About Appinio

Appinio is a global market research platform known for its innovative and effortless approach to market research. The platform allows businesses to quickly and efficiently survey specific target audiences and obtain real-time results. Appinio delivers millions of opinions daily from over 90 markets, serving more than 2,000 clients, including companies in consumer goods, mobility, technology, as well as leading agencies and consulting firms. Founded in 2014 by Jonathan Kurfess (Chairman), Max Honig (CEO), and Kai Granaß (CTO), the company is headquartered in Hamburg. For more information, visit https://www.appinio.com/en/.


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