Marriages at record lowLatest News Tuesday, December 27th, 2011
From Baptist Press
Compiled by Erin Roach and Tom Strode
NASHVILLE, TN. (BP) — Only 51 percent of Americans age 18 and older are married, compared to 57 percent a decade ago, according to a new study, and while young adults aspire to marry, it’s not a priority.
The median age when women first marry is at a new high of older than 26, and the corresponding age for men is almost 29, the Pew Research Center said.
By comparison, in 1960, 72 percent of all adults were married in the United States, and the median age for brides was barely 20 and grooms were just a couple of years older, The Washington Post noted Dec. 14.
In 2010, 7.5 million couples were living together without being married, representing a 13 percent increase in just one year. The Post said the economy is largely to blame, with dating couples struggling to support two households but not being willing to commit to marriage.
A sociologist at Johns Hopkins University told The Post that in the 1950s marriage was mandatory but now it’s “culturally optional.” Just last year Pew found that more than four in 10 Americans under 30 consider marriage old-fashioned.
Yet most young adults today express a desire to marry eventually, once they’ve had time to establish careers, travel the world and indulge in hobbies.
Matt Statler, a 29-year-old resident of the nation’s capital, told The Post he’d like to marry someday, but he’s “definitely in no hurry.” He wants the freedom to do what he wants for a time without feeling that he should be spending time in a committed relationship.
“It’s just easier to date around and not be as emotionally invested in someone when I have other goals in life right now,” Statler told The Post.
Another major factor in the declining marriage rate is a generation of youth who have experienced their parents’ divorces and fear repeating the mistakes.
The newspaper quoted a 30-year-old woman whose divorced father advised her to wait at least until age 35 to marry. Such young adults, Pew found, believe that living together is a safer first step.
Compiled by Baptist Press assistant editor Erin Roach and Washington bureau chief Tom Strode. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).