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Marriage rate in US lowest in a century
Washington, Jul 20, 2013 (PTI) 22:45 IST
The marriage rate in the United States has plummeted to 31.01, the lowest in over a century, a new study has found.
Fewer women in the US are getting married and they are waiting longer to tie the knot, according to a new Family Profile from the National Center for Family and Marriage Research (NCFMR) at Bowling Green State University.
The current marriage rate is 31.1, the lowest it's been in over a century, it said. That equals roughly 31 marriages per 1,000 married women. Compare that to 1920, when the marriage rate was a staggering 92.3, researchers said.
Since 1970, the marriage rate has declined by almost 60 per cent, they said.
"Marriage is no longer compulsory. It's just one of an array of options. Increasingly, many couples choose to cohabit and still others prefer to remain single," said Dr Susan Brown, co-director of the NCFMR.
Furthermore, a woman's average age at first marriage is the highest it's been in over a century, at nearly 27 years old, said researchers.
"The age at first marriage for women and men is at a historic highpoint and has been increasing at a steady pace," states Dr Wendy Manning, co-director of the Center. There has also been a dramatic increase in the proportion of women who are separated or divorced. In 1920, less than one per cent of women held that distinction. Today, that number is 15 per cent.
"The divorce rate remains high in the US, and individuals today are less likely to remarry than they were in the past," said Brown.
Resaerchers said the marriage rate has declined for all racial and ethnic groups, but the greatest decline is among African Americans.
Similarly, the education divide in marriage has grown. In the last 50 years there have been only modest changes in the percentage of women married among the college educated and the greatest declines among women without a high school diploma.