Study Indicates Dramatic Drop in Marriage Rate

A recent study shows the continuation and acceleration of a trend observers have noticed for approximately half a century—fewer and fewer Americans, at least those under the age of 30, are opting to get married. The data, gathered by Pew Research, indicates that among men and women under the age of 30, about one in five are now married. Just 50 years ago, that statistic was two and a half its current rate, with more than half of that age group having tied the knot.
Those interviewed for the study, as well as researchers, gave a number of different reasons for the decline:

  • Many said that the experience of seeing their parents marry young, then get divorced, made it far less appealing for them to consider marriage at all. Almost three in four of survey participants who were from homes of divorce said they thought they would have different lives had their parents not divorced. A separate study found that almost 20 % of those whose parents had divorced feared that they would do the same.
  • Many, especially women, said that they felt they had other options not available to women 50 years ago, including entering the work force or going to graduate school. For a large percentage of interviewees, career took priority over personal relationships.
  • A significant number of women in the study said they no longer felt that marriage was even necessary, let alone a major goal in life. Many of those who did express a willingness or an interest in a committed relationship said they didn’t feel like there needed to be a legal ceremony to make it legitimate.

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