This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 13th (it will be out in January 2020), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Friday, December 16, 2011

Is Marriage Going to Hell in a Handbasket?

Pew Research has plumbed the 2010 census data on marital status and produced a report showing that marriage among adults in the US is at an all-time low. The Christian Science Monitor has picked up the story:

The decline in the number of newly married adults – from 4.4 million in 2009 to 4.2 million in 2010 – was shared by all age groups but was especially sharp for the youngest adults.
The decline in the proportion of currently married adults is most dramatic for the young. Only 9 percent of adults ages 18-24 were married in 2010, compared with 45 percent in 1960.
The proportions currently married diverge notably by racial and ethnic group. More than half (55 percent) of whites are married, a decline from 74 percent in 1960. Among Hispanics 48 percent are married, compared with 72 percent in 1960. Among blacks, only 31 percent are married, compared with 61 percent in 1960.
Of course, if you've read my book or otherwise looked at global trends, you'll know that what is happening in the US is not unique--it is virtually a global phenomenon. Indeed, our own research in the Middle East and Africa suggests that one of the single most important reasons for the decline in fertility is that women, in particular, are delaying marriage in order to improve their level of education and to try to establish themselves in the labor market. Among most people looking at the data, the issue is less the delay in marriage than it is the concern that increasing fractions of children may eventually grow up with only one parent in the household. That issue was not dealt with in the Pew report. Stay tuned.

1 comment:

  1. The saying ‘Going to hell in a handbasket’ is absolutely ridiculous. Anyone who uses such a phrase to characterize a poor state of affairs is a brainsick nutcase. The origin of this fragment goes back to the 1920s, according to several dictionaries. But in truth it makes very little sense, unless, one means, the world will be put in a handbasket or handcart or handbag and sent to hell, which too, doesn’t make much sense either. Who’s going to put the world in one of the above objects and send us all to hell?

    Why not just say ‘Going to hell where you belong’. Although the alliteration, hell and handbasket, are not present in my fragment still it is more sensible and rational and makes sense. Plus it maneuvers itself away from evidence of a dumb down society or what I call ‘Parrot Syndrome’.

    Wake up America. It’s time to put ignorance behind us.

    Cincinnati Ohio