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Despite these numbers, 47 percent of the respondents who said they think marriage is obsolete also said they would like to be married themselves.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.
Photo credit: Angi Unruh