Here are some interesting facts about marriage in our culture today. I still work on the assumption that facts are useful things in constructing a point of view!
9 Things You Should Know About Marriage in America
By Joe Carter on the Gospel Coalition Blog
This week Americans celebrate National Marriage Week, a
collaborative campaign to strengthen individual marriages, reduce the
divorce rate, and build a stronger marriage culture. Here are nine
things you should know about marriage in America:
1. The median ages of people when they first marry (as of 2010) was 28.9 for men and 2010 for 26.9 women.
2. The marriage rate in the U.S.
is currently 31.01, the lowest it's been in over a century, according
to the National Center for Family and Marriage Center at Bowling Green
State University. That equals roughly 31 marriages per 1,000 unmarried
women. In 1920, the marriage rate reached its peak at 92.3. Since 1970,
the marriage rate has declined by almost 60 percent. In real terms, the total number of marriages fell from 2.45 million in 1990 to 2.11 million in 2010.
3. Most people now live together before they marry
for the first time. An even higher percentage of divorced persons who
subsequently remarry live together first. And a growing number of
persons, both young and old, are living together with no plans to marry
4. Unmarried cohabitation—the status of couples who are sexual partners, not married to each other, and sharing a household—is particularly common among the young.
It is estimated that about a quarter of unmarried women age 25 to 39
are currently living with a partner and an additional quarter have lived
with a partner at some time in the past. More than 60 percent of first
marriages are now preceded by living together, compared to virtually
none fifty years ago.
NUMBER OF COHABITING, UNMARRIED, ADULT COUPLES OF THE OPPOSITE SEX, BY YEAR, UNITED STATES
5. The average age for childbearing
is now younger than the average age for marriage. By age 25, 44 percent
of women have had a baby, while only 38 percent have married. Today,
only 23 percent of all unmarried births are to teenagers. Sixty percent
are to women in their twenties. Today, the average woman bearing a child outside of marriage is a twenty-something white woman with a high school degree.
6. Marriage has shifted from being the cornerstone to the capstone of adult life.
No longer the foundation on which young adults build their prospects
for future prosperity and happiness, marriage now comes only after they
have moved toward financial and psychological independence.
7. The national divorce rate is almost 50 percent of all marriages.
But for many people, the actual chances of divorce are far below 50/50.
The "close to 50 percent" divorce rate refers to the percentage of
marriages entered into during a particular year that are projected to
end in divorce or separation before one spouse dies. Such projections
assume that the divorce and death rates occurring that year will
continue indefinitely into the future—an assumption that is useful more
as an indicator of the instability of marriages in the recent past than
as a predictor of future events.
8. The presence of children in America has declined significantly since 1960,
as measured by fertility rates and the percentage of households with
children. Other indicators suggest that this decline has reduced the
child-centeredness of our nation and contributed to the weakening of the
institution of marriage. It is estimated that in the mid-1800s more
than 75 percent of all households contained children under the age of
18. One hundred years later, in 1960, this number had dropped to
slightly less than half of all households. In 2011, just five decades
later, only 32 percent of households included children. This obviously
means that adults are less likely to be living with children, that
neighborhoods are less likely to contain children, and that children are
less likely to be a consideration in daily life.
9. If a person has been to college, has an annual income over
$50,000, is religious, comes from from an intact family, and marries
after age 25 without having a baby first, their chances of divorce are
very low. Here are some percentage-point decreases in the risk of divorce or separation
during the first ten years of marriage, according to various personal
and social factors: Annual income over $50,000 (vs. under $25,000)
(-30); Having a baby seven months or more after marriage (vs. before
marriage) (-24); Marrying over 25 years of age (vs. under 18) (-24);
Family of origin intact (vs. divorced parents) (-14); Religious
affiliation (vs. none) (-14); College (vs. high school dropout) (-25).