29 May 2011

Marriage trends in the United States (1960-2010)

"I looked through the full 2010 The State of Our Unions report. This graph, showing the percent of those aged 15 or older who were married from 1960-2009, shows that marriage has become less common for both men and women, Blacks and Whites (based on U.S. Census Data).

Of course, this is in large part because people in the U.S. are getting married later; not only do we not really expect a 15-year-old to be married, we’d be rather horrified if they were. If we look only at adults aged 35-44, we do see a significant decrease in marriage between 1960 and 2009, but still, about 2/3 were married":

Found at Sociological Images, where there are also graphs regarding divorce and cohabitation.


  1. "I find it hard to believe that in 1960, 2/3 of all 15-year-olds were married."

    Where are you getting that from? The first graph indicates that 2/3 of all people 15 and older were married, not 2/3 of all 15 year olds. If people were regularly married that young in the 1960s, I think my family would have mentioned it!

  2. Oops. No wonder I was confused; my mind is going. I need to take a break from blogging again...

    I've deleted my stupid comment. Tx for saving me further embarrassment.

  3. I figured it was a brain fart, no worries. :-)

  4. Forgive me in advance, Stan, as i'm about to use your blog as my own personal lectern, but i'm hoping to provoke some discussion and get a feel for others' thoughts on this =)

    I think this gradual change makes sense, and i think it possibly demonstrates either (or perhaps both) of two things.

    1: The obvious - People are becoming less mired in social taboos regarding actions taken by consenting adults in the absence of wedlock, and foregoing the rite... possibly for monetary reasons, perhaps because de facto benefits are identical to those imbued by marriage which renders it redundant, perhaps because the exclusive monopoly long held by marriage in the portrayals of romantic love in fiction is slowly eroding, or maybe just plain old laziness; my brother has been engaged for 8 years, no signs of a ceremony yet

    2: The speculative conjecture - Humanity (or some of it anyway) is perhaps slowly beginning to embrace its non-monogamous past (recommended: The Naked Ape by Desmond Harris), as a result of both sexual instinct and the abovementioned abandonment of long-held standards of moral normality. Serial monogamy, which until recently in western society (and most societies) has always been reacted to with moral indignation, is probably only the first step; i can see - in the long term, anyway - polyamory becoming more socially feasible.

    I would be interested to see the results of a social study into the prevalence of mutually undertaken partnerships involving more than two people. I suspect that over the last few decades there has been significant growth, and further predict that over the next few decades it will continue apace. You heard it here first! =P

    I'm going to give myself away as an anti-traditionalist (if i haven't already) by saying that "until death us do part" seems an absurdly fatalistic and unrealistic oath to swear to uphold, anyway. It ignores the fact that people change, as well as other facts of life. Unless i happen to meet someone dead-keen on 'tying the knot', i don't see myself undertaking such a redundant ritual which, let's face it, is a residual construct from a less enlightened time, invented as a means of control and ownership, with a basis in mysticism and superstition.

  5. No forgiveness necessary, Jim. You're welcome to pontificate ad lib in the comments of any post.

    Now we'll see if you get a response...

  6. Hahah, 'pontificate' is right, if you don't feel the need to forgive that, then forgive the pomposity =P


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...