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I’m Louise. Blogger. Wife. Designer of TruLu Couture Veils + Accessories.  If you’d like to know more, check out my bio.

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Thursday
Dec152011

The Decline of Marriage

So last night I was slaving away in the kitchen making dinner for the hubs, with Brian Williams of NBC Nightly News blaring from the TV for me to hear over the clanging of my pots and pans.  A segment came on that made me abandon my Panko Crusted Chicken dish and take note.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Via the NBC Nightly News, December 14.2010. I ♥ Brian Williams.

 

Here are some of the stats quoted in this segment:

  • In 2010 51% of the population over the age of 18 is married.
  • In 1960 75% of the population over the age of 18 was married.

This appears to be a HUGE decline, right? We all see that the same way? Good.

Next:

  • Marriages have declined 5% since last year.
  • The average age for women getting married is 27, for men it’s 29. That age increases when they are college educated.
  • 72% of the population will marry sometime in our lives.

I’m not really sure about what this segment is supposed to convey to us. At first, I gasped and clutched at my heart thinking, “How will this affect TruLu Couture? The Thirty-Something Bride?” But after the segment was done and I went back to the chicken and the asparagus and the yummy new version of mac-n-cheese I got from Woman’s Day magazine and it got me to thinking about a few things like: populations growth, the U.S. Census of 2010, the sad state of our economy. I did a little research and found out some interesting factoids.

  • First, check out this little graph from the U.S. Census of 2010 on age distribution from 1960 to 2010.

image

Look at the median age. In 1960 it was 29.5, in 2010 it was 37.2. We are generally older as a population by 7.7 years.  I’m going to use my mom as an example. She got married in 1965 when she was 23 years old and college educated. If you add 7.7 years to that you get 30.7, which is close to that average age that college educated folks are getting married now.  It’s math, not the state of marriage.

Now check this out:

image

See all the numbers in the far right columns? This comparison is between 2000 and 2010. The percent change in younger people is far lower than those over the age of 45. There are actually less people in the 25-44 year old age range, the range that apparently everyone is now marrying in. Based on these numbers, well, it seems sort of like a no brainer that marriages have indeed dropped in the last 10 years. However, I don’t think it’s because people are necessarily not getting married, it’s because there are physically less of us in that younger age range to marry.

I could do some digging and find out what the population was in 1960 in the 25-44 year old age range, but I’m too lazy. I think we can make some safe assumptions, right?

And as for the decrease in weddings over the last year? Five percent? Sounds about right to me. If you’re an average American bride, you know times are tight. Weddings have been pushed back, postponed, delayed…all to manage them financially. I read about brides doing this all the time. Have you read the same or am I crazy here?  I don’t  think it’s ANY sort of representation of or trend for marriage. I think people are marrying smarter.

Gone is the notion that a woman needs to marry to survive either financially or socially. We can make our own money, support ourselves and have kids solo if we so desire. The need to marry no longer applies. It’s a choice. When we choose to do so, it then becomes a very personalized event. These events take time and money, the latter being harder to come by these days.

And what about that total of 72%? That many of us will eventually marry. How does that compare to how many of us did in 1960? In total population, I’ll bet it’s more, but compared to how many eventually did back then? I wonder.

So I’m not sure what the segment is really trying to convey. There seemed to be some element of worry in the tone of the piece. Should we be worried? Is there some doom and gloom associated with staying single or the decline (which I believe is relative) of marriage? What, if anything, does this say about us as a society? A country? I’d love to hear your thoughts.