Chloe Angyal finds that a dwindling number of women keep their maiden names:
The highest that figure was was 23 percent in the nineties. By the early aughts, it had dropped to 18 percent. In 2011, TheKnot.com surveyed 19,000 newlywed women and found that only 8 percent kept their last names; 86 percent took their husbands’ names, with the remaining 6 percent presumably modifying or hyphenating. Meanwhile, the median age at first marriage for American women has reached an all-time high of 26.5 years, meaning women spend longer establishing their professional identities before they walk down the aisle. They’re also more likely to stay in the workforce after marriage.
Angyal also discusses women who change their names but continue to use their maiden names for their jobs. Jessica Grose is one of them:
Because my profession is so public, I think of my maiden name as my public face. It’s almost a mask, really—it allows me to be a particular person that I can keep somewhat separate from my personal self. In this age when tweeting and Facebooking are part of the job of being a journalist (or a singer), it’s important for me to feel like I have a private identity that I don’t have to share.