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Barely Half of All US Adults Married

Barely Half of All US Adults Married


It is ironic and darkly amusing that in a country that fights over whether or not two members of the same sex can marry, just barely half of the adults in the United States are married.  One of the most oft-cited arguments against gay marriage is that marriage is strictly a heterosexual institution.  Well, maybe not so much anymore, according to the new Pew Research Center Analysis of US Census Data.

The drop in marriage rates has gone from 72% in 1960 to 51% last year.  Reasons for this drop include cohabitation, single parenthood and single person households, including homosexual households. Though there may be other reasons, that was cited as being “beyond the scope of the study.”

While all age groups experienced a drop, young people showed the greatest difference. In 1960, 59% of people between the ages of 18 and 29 were married. That number has dropped to just 20% of that population today.

In addition to this, the median age of newlyweds has risen by about six years for both brides and grooms.  The current median age for brides is about 27 and that of grooms is about 29.

Among those respondents between the ages of 35 and 39, only 77% had been married at any point in time, as opposed to 93% in 1960.

The report predicts that the trend will drop below half in the next few years.  They said that the recent drop in the number of new marriages (5% from last year) could be due to the bad economy, but the correlation is not as clear as it could be.

This may indicate that the concept of marriage is becoming obsolete, despite all the legal battles going on about who can and cannot marry.  36 percent of Whites, 44 percent of Black, and 42 percent of Hispanics believe this to be true.

Despite these numbers, 47 percent of the respondents who said they think marriage is obsolete also said they would like to be married themselves.  However, this changes when the respondent has been married before, when the answer becomes a lack of desire to be remarried.

It would be interesting to see if these numbers match the homosexual population if and when all states legalize gay marriage.


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Photo credit: Angi Unruh

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4:21AM PST on Jan 22, 2012


8:26PM PST on Dec 31, 2011

Economics has something to do with it. More jobs, more money, more marriages. Check history.

8:43PM PST on Dec 30, 2011

It is doubtful, the percentage will gain in strength.

5:32AM PST on Dec 29, 2011

Thanks for the article.

4:19PM PST on Dec 27, 2011

contd. impulse control, IMHO, use your brain, not your momentary feel good place, because odds are, for that momentary good feeling, there is going to be a train wreck, and your life will be impacted negatively forever. For a small percentage, the union was doomed from the start, so get out quick before too much pain is caused for everyone. Also, why do people spend tens of thousands of dollars on Weddings? Take that money and put it towards a home and making your life secure, that really helps keep a marriage strong, less money stress will help you far more than a book of pretty wedding photos or a dress that you will use only once. People need to see what is really important in a relationship-- Trust, Empathy, Truth, Compassion, Fidelity, Impulse Control, etc, and not all the external trappings. IMHO

4:18PM PST on Dec 27, 2011

First of all, in a country with separation of church and state, we should have 'Civil Unions' and not state sanctioned Marriage. Marriage should be a religious rite of passage, IMHO. Secondly, I've been 'married' for nearly 27 years now, and we have had our trying times, but we work through them because we see our relationship as the most important central core aspect of our lives -- everything else arises and is fed by it. In our society I see many unions break up because of unrealistic expectations, bad impulse control, lack of empathy, lack of ethics, and the belief that people are owed something 'better' -- grass is greener on the other side mentality. Well, first of all, if folks looked at 'marriage' as what it is a contract, they might think twice about breaking a contract if there were sterner penalties for doing it. I find, 'No Fault' divorce the biggest misnomer in the world, of course there is usually fault in a divorce, and the person who breaks a contract with intent should pay for it. There should also be allowed, 'alienation of affection' suits again, because there are folks out there who INTENTIONALLY break up unions because there is no penalty for that. People are nearly always looking outside of their union to fix their lives, why not look inside and really TRY to fix things first -- both in yourself and your mate, then if it does not work, move on like adults. Do not just jump into the nearest bed, that is SEX and not a relationship. People lack im

4:00PM PST on Dec 27, 2011

I support marriages where the two consenting adults love each other. Not the ones where they marry because they messed around, ended up pregnant and for the child's sake,they get married. You're not helping out the child if you're always arguing.

2:22PM PST on Dec 27, 2011

As long as people understand that a wedding is making a commitment to each other - not a game to see how quickly they can separate - Separate before the children arrive please!

2:12PM PST on Dec 27, 2011

This is by design, break up the family unit is one of the first steps if the elite want to run our lives.

1:57PM PST on Dec 27, 2011

If you can get the meat for free you don't need the rest of the bull.

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