The State Of Marriage in America(2008 Update )
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The State Of Marriage in America(2008 Update )

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By The National Marriage Project

By The National Marriage Project

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  • 1. T H E S O C I A L H E A LT H O F M A R R I A G E I N A M E R I C A U P DAT E S O F S O C I A L I N D I CAT O R S : TA B L E S A N D G R A P H S T H E N A T I O N A L M A R R I A G E P R O J E C T
  • 2. The National Marriage Project T he National Marriage Project is a nonpartisan, nonsectarian and interdisci- plinary initiative located at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. The project is financially supported by the university in cooperation with private foundations. The Project’s mission is to provide research and analysis on the state of marriage in America and to educate the public on the social, economic and cultural conditions affecting marital success and wellbeing. The National Marriage Project has five goals: (1) annually publish The State of Our Unions, an index of the health of marriage and marital relationships in America; (2) investigate and report on younger adults’ attitudes toward marriage; (3) examine the popular media’s portrait of marriage; (4) serve as a clearinghouse resource of research and expertise on marriage; and (5) bring together marriage and family experts to develop strategies for revitalizing marriage. Leadership The project is co-directed by two nationally prominent family experts. David Popenoe, Ph.D., a pro- fessor of sociology emeritus and former social and behavioral sciences dean at Rutgers, is the author of Life Without Father, Disturbing the Nest, War Over the Family and many other scholarly and pop- ular publications on marriage and family. Barbara Dafoe Whitehead, Ph.D., an author and social critic, writes extensively on issues of marriage, family and child wellbeing. She is the author of Why There Are No Good Men Left, The Divorce Culture, and the widely acclaimed Atlantic Monthly arti- cle “Dan Quayle Was Right.” Special thanks are extended to Theresa Kirby for collecting the data and preparing the tables in this report. Design: Bruce Hanson / EGADS, Hightstown, NJ © Copyright 2009 by the National Marriage Project. All rights reserved. For more information: The National Marriage Project Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey 54 Joyce Kilmer Avenue, Lucy Stone Hall B217 Piscataway, NJ 08854-8045 (732) 445-7922 marriage@rci.rutgers.edu http://marriage.rutgers.edu February 2009
  • 3. Contents Figure 1. Number of Marriages per 1,000 Unmarried Women Age 15 and Older, by Year, United States Figure 2. Percentage of All Persons Age 15 and Older Who Were Married, by Sex and Race, 1960-2007 United States Figure 3. Percentage of Persons Age 35 through 44 Who Were Married by Sex, 1960-2007, United States Figure 4. Percentage of Married Persons Age 18 and Older Who Said Their Marriages Were “Very Happy,” by Period, United States Figure 5. Number of Divorces per 1,000 Married Women Age 15 and Older, by Year, United States Figure 6. Percentage of All Persons Age 15 and Older Who Were Divorced b, by Sex and Race, 1960-2007 United States Figure 7. Number of Cohabiting, Unmarried, Adult Couples of the Opposite Sex, by Year, United States Figure 8. Fertility Rates, 1960-2006, Number of Births per 1,000 Women Age 15 through 44, United States Figure 9. Percentage of Households with a Child or Children Under Age 18, 1960-2007, United States Figure 10. Percentage of Children Under Age 18 Living with A Single Parent, by Year and Race, United States Figure 11. Percentage of Children Under Age 18 Living with Two Married Parents, by Year and Race, United States Figure 12. Percentage of Live Births that Were to Unmarried Women, by Year, United States Figure 13. Number of Cohabiting, Unmarried, Adult Couples of the Opposite Sex Living with One Child or More, by Year, Figure 14. Percentage of High School Seniors Who Said Having A Good Marriage and Family Life Is “Extremely Important,” by Period, United States Figure 15. Percentage of High School Seniors, Who Said It Is Very Likely They Will Stay Married to the Same Person for Life, by Period, United States Figure 16. Percentage of High School Seniors Who Said They Agreed or Mostly Agreed That Most People Will Have Fuller and Happier Lives If They Choose Legal Marriage Rather Than Staying Single or Just Living With Someone, by Period, United States Figure 17. Percentage of High School Seniors Who Said Having a Child Without Being Married Is Experimenting with a Worthwhile Lifestyle or Not Affecting Anyone Else, by Period, United States Figure 18. Percentage of High School Seniors Who Agreed or Mostly Agreed with the Statement: “It Is Usually a Good Idea for a Couple to Live Together Before Getting Married in Order to Find Out Whether They Really Get Along,” by Period, United States
  • 4. 85 FIGURE 1 80 76.5 Number of Marriages per 1,000 75 Unmarried Women Age 15 and 70 a 73.5 b Older, by Year, United States 66.9 Number 65 60 61.4 55 56.2 50 54.5 50.8 45 46.5 39.2 40 40.7 1960 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2007 a We have used the number of marriages per 1,000 unmarried women age 15 and older, rather than the Crude Marriage Rate of marriages per 1,000 population to help avoid the problem of compositional changes in the population, that is, changes which stem merely from there being more or less people in the marriageable ages. Even this more refined measure is somewhat susceptible to compositional changes. b Per 1,000 unmarried women age 14 and older Source: U.S. Department of the Census, Statistical Abstract of the United States, 2001, Page 87, Table 117; and Statistical Abstract of the United States, 1986, Page 79, Table 124; and Births, Marriages, Divorces, and Deaths: Provisional Data for 2007, National Vital Statistics Report 56:21, July 14, 2008, Table 2. (http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr55/nvsr56_21.pdf) and Current Population Surveys March 2007 data. The CPS, March Supplement, is based on a sample of the U.S. population, rather than an actual count such as those available from the decennial census. See sampling and weighting notes at http://www.bls.census.gov:80/cps/ads/2002/ssampwgt.htm FIGURE 2 Percentage of All Persons Age 15 and Older Who Were Married, a by Sex and Race, 1960-2007, United States MALES FEMALES Year Total Blacks Whites Total Blacks Whites 1960 69.3 60.9 70.2 65.9 59.8 66.6 1970 66.7 56.9 68.0 61.9 54.1 62.8 1980 63.2 48.8 65.0 58.9 44.6 60.7 1990 60.7 45.1 62.8 56.9 40.2 59.1 2000 57.9 42.8 60.0 54.7 36.2 57.4 2007b 54.7 38.5 56.9 51.2 30.0 54.3 a Includes races other than Black and White. b In 2003, the U.S. Census Bureau expanded its racial categories to permit respondents to identify themselves as belonging to more than one race. This means that racial data computations beginning in 2004 may not be strictly comparable to those of prior years. Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census, Current Population Reports, Series P20-506; America's Families and Living Arrangements (www.census.gov/population/socdemo/hh-fam/cps2007/tabA1-all.pdf).
  • 5. 90 88.0 89.3 MALES 85 87.4 86.9 84.2 FEMALES 80 81.4 Percentage 75 74.1 FIGURE 3 71.6 Percentage of Persons Age 35 71.5 73.0 70 through 44 Who Were Married, 69.1 69.0 by Sex, 1960-2007, United States 65 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2007 Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census, Statistical Abstract of the United States, 1961, Page 34, Table 27; Statistical Abstract of the United States, 1971, Page 32, Table 38; Statistical Abstract of the United States, 1981, Page 38, Table 49; and U.S. Bureau of the Census, General Population Characteristics, 1990, Page 45, Table 34; and Statistical Abstract of the United States, 2001, Page 48, Table 51; Internet tables (http://www.census.gov/population/socdemo/hh-fam/cps2007/tabA1-all.pdf) Figure for 2007 was obtained using data from the Current Population Surveys rather than data from the census. The CPS, March Supplement, is based on a sample of the U.S. population, rather than an actual count such as those available from the decennial census. See sampling and weighting notes at http://www.bls.census.gov:80/cps/ads/2002/ssampwgt.htm 75 FIGURE 4 Percentage of Married Persons Age 18 and Older Who Said Their Marriages Were “Very 69.6 70 Happy,” by Period, United States 68.3 66.4 Percentage MEN 64.9 65 66.6 63.2 62.9 64.2 62.9 61.0 60 61.7 59.5 WOMEN 59.6 59.7 55 1973- 1977- 1982- 1987- 1993- 1998- 2004- 1976 1981 1986 1991 1996 2002 2006 Source: The General Social Survey, conducted by the National Opinion Research Center of the University of Chicago. The number of respondents for each sex for each period is about 2,000 except for 2004-06 with about 1,500.
  • 6. 25 FIGURE 5 23 Number of Divorces per 1,000 22.6 Married Women Age 15 21.7 20.9 21 and Older, by Year, Number per 1,000 United States 20.3 19 19.8 17.5 18.8 17 16.4 15 14.9 13 11 9.2 10.6 9 1960 1965 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2007 We have used the number of divorces per 1,000 married women age 15 and older, rather than the Crude Divorce Rate of divorces per 1,000 population to help avoid the problem of compositional changes in the population. Even this more refined measure is somewhat susceptible to compositional changes. Source: Statistical Abstract of the United States, 2001, Page 87, Table 117; National Vital Statistics Reports, August 22, 2001; California Current Population Survey Report: 2000, Table 3, March 2001; Births, Marriages, Divorces, and Deaths: Provisional Data for 2007, National Vital Statistics Report 56:21, July 14, 2008, Table 2. (http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr55/nvsr56_21.pdf) and calculations by the National Marriage Project for the U.S. less California, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Louisiana and Minnesota using the Current Population Surveys, 2007. FIGURE 6 Percentage of All Persons Age 15 and Older Who Were Divorced,b by Sex and Race, 1960-2007, United States MALES FEMALES Year Total Blacks Whites Total Blacks Whites 1960 1.8 2.0 1.8 2.6 4.3 2.5 1970 2.2 3.1 2.1 3.5 4.4 3.4 1980 4.8 6.3 4.7 6.6 8.7 6.4 1990 6.8 8.1 6.8 8.9 11.2 8.6 2000 8.3 9.5 8.4 10.2 11.8 10.2 2007a 8.6 8.9 8.6 11.0 12.1 11.0 a In 2003, the U.S. Census Bureau expanded its racial categories to permit respondents to identify themselves as belonging to more than one race. This means that racial data computations beginning in 2004 may not be strictly comparable to those of prior years. b “Divorced” indicates family status at the time of survey. Divorced respondants who later marry are counted as “married.” Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census, Current Population Reports, Series P20-537; America’s Families and Living Arrangements (www.census.gov/population/socdemo/hh-fam/cps2007/tabA1-all.pdf).
  • 7. 6.5 6.0 FIGURE 7 6.445 Number of Cohabiting, Unmarried, 5.5 Adult Couples of the Opposite Sex, 5.0 by Year, United States 4.5 4.0 Number in Millions 3.822* 3.5 3.0 2.856 2.5 2.0 1.589 1.5 1.0 .439 0.5 .523 0.0 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2007 Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census, Current Population Reports, Series P20-537; America’s Families and Living Arrangements: March 2000; and U.S. Bureau of the Census, Population Division, Current Population Survey, 2007 Annual Social and Economic Supplement (http://www.census.gov/population/socdemo/ hh-fam/cps2007.html). *Prior to 1996, the U.S. Census estimated unmarried-couple households based on two unmarried adults of the opposite sex living in the same household. After 1996, respondents could identify themselves as unmarried partners. FIGURE 8 Total Fertility Rate a Fertility Rates, 1960-2006, Number of Births per 1,000 1960 3.654 Women Age 15 through 44, United States 1970 2.480 120 118.0 1980 1.840 1990 2.081 110 2000 2.056 100 2006 2.101 Number 90 87.9 80 70.9 68.5 70 68.4 65.9 60 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2006 a The number of births that an average woman would have if, at each year of age, she experienced the birth rates occurring in the specified year. A total fertility rate of 2,110 represents "replacement level" fertility under current mortality conditions (assuming no net migration). Source: National Vital Statistics Report, 1993, Pages 1, 2, 10 and 11; National Vital Statistics Report, 2001, 49:1; and U.S. Bureau of the Census, Statistical Abstract of the United States, 1999, Pages 75, 76 and 78, Tables 91, 93 and 96. Martin, J., et al. Births: Final Data for 2006, National Vital Statistics Report, 57:7, Jan. 7, 2009, p. 29, Table 1, and p. 33, Table 4.
  • 8. 50 48.8 FIGURE 9 Percentage of Households with a 45.5 45 Child or Children Under Age 18, 1960-2007, United States Percentage 40 38.4 35 34.6 33.0 31.7 30 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2007 Source: Calculated from data in U.S. Bureau of the Census, Statistical Abstract of the United States, 1964, Tables 36 and 54; Statistical Abstract of the United States, 1980, Tables 62 and 67; Statistical Abstract of the United States, 1985, Tables 54 and 63; Statistical Abstract of the United States, 1994, Table 67; Statistical Abstract of the United States, 2004-05, Table 56; and America’s Families and Households, 2007, Tables F1 and H1 (www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/hh-fman/cps2007.html). 60 FIGURE 10 Percentage of Children Under Age 18 50 Living With a Single Parent, by Year and Race, BLACKS 40 United States 27 26 25 Percentage 30 20 TOTALa 20 12 9 WHITES 10 0 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2007 * a Total includes Blacks, Whites and all other racial and ethnic groupings. Over these decades an additional 3 to 4 percent of children, not indicated in the above figure, were classified as living with no parent. b In 2003, the U.S. Census Bureau expanded its racial categories to permit respondents to identify themselves as belonging to more than one race. This means that racial data computations beginning in 2004 may not be strictly comparable to those of prior years. * Prior to 2007, the U.S. Census counted children living with two cohabiting parents as children in single parent households. See “Improvements to Data Collection about Families in CPS 2007,” (www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/hh-fam.html). Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census, Current Population Reports, Series P20-537; and U.S. Bureau of the Census, Population Division, Current Population Survey, 2007 Annual Social and Economic Supplement (http://www.census.gov/population/socdemo/hh-fam/cps2007).
  • 9. 100 90 WHITES 88 80 85 77 70 TOTAL a Percentage 73 69 68 60 50 BLACKS 40 FIGURE 11 Percentage of Children 30 Under Age 18 Living with Two Married Parents, c by Year and Race, United States 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2007 b a Total includes Blacks, Whites and all other racial and ethnic groupings. b In 2003, the U.S. Census Bureau expanded its racial categories to permit respondents to identify themselves as belonging to more than one race. This means that racial data computations beginning in 2004 may not be strictly comparable to those of prior years. c "Married Parents" may be step or natural parents of children in the household. Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census, Current Population Reports, Series P20-537; America’s Families and Living Arrangements, March 2000; and U.S. Bureau of the Census, Population Division, Current Population Survey, 2007 Annual Social and Economic Supplement (http://www.census.gov/population/socdemo/hh-fam/ cps2007). 80 FIGURE 12 Percentage of Live Births that 70 Were to Unmarried Women, by BLACKS 60 Year and Race, United States 50 Percentage 38.5 40 33.2 28.0 30 22.0 TOTAL a 18.4 20 10.7 14.2 7.7 WHITES 10 5.3 0 1960 1965 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 2000 2006 Total includes Whites, Blacks and all other racial and ethnic groupings. Source: Statistical Abstract of the United States, 1995, Page 77, Table 94; Statistical Abstract of the United States, 1999, Page 79, Table 99; Statistical Abstract of the United States, 2000, Page 69, Table 85; and Statistical Abstract of the United States, 2001, Page 63, Table 76; National Vital Statistics Reports, Vol. 50, 5. Martin, J., et al. Births: Preliminary Data for 2006, National Vital Statistics Report, 57:7, Jan. 7, 2009, p. 54, Table 18.
  • 10. 3.0 2.8 FIGURE 13 2.6 2.505 Number of Cohabiting, Unmarried, 2.4 2.2 Adult Couples of the Opposite Sex 2.0 Living with One Child or More Under Number in Millions 1.8 Age 15, by Year, United States 1.6 1.4 1.563 * 1.2 1.0 0.8 .891 0.6 .431 0.4 .197 .196 0.2 0.0 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2007 * Prior to 1996, the U.S. Census estimated unmarried-couple households based on two unmarried adults of the opposite sex living in the same household. After 1996, respondents could identify themselves as unmarried partners. The Census also identified households with children under 15 until 1996 when they began identifying children under 18. Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census, Current Population Reports, Series P20-537; America’s Families and Living Arrangements, March, 2000, and and U.S. Bureau of the Census, Population Division, Current Population Survey, 2007 Annual Social and Economic Supplement, Table H3 and (http://www.census.gov/population/socdemo/hh-fam/cps2007). 85 81.9 82.1 82.1 83.2 80.2 GIRLS 81.3 80 FIGURE 14 Percentage of High School Seniors Who Said Having Percentage 75 a Good Marriage and Family Life is “Extremely BOYS Important,” by Period, United States 72.9 70 72.0 70.7 69.4 69.7 69.0 65 ’76-’80 ’81-’85 ’86-’90 ’91-’95 ’96-’00 ’01-’06 Number of respondents for each sex for each period is about 6,000. Source: Monitoring the Future surveys conducted by the Survey Research Center at the University of Michigan.
  • 11. 80 FIGURE 15 Percentage of High School Seniors Who Expected to Marr y, or Were 75 Married, Who Said It Is "Very Likely" They Will Stay Mar ried to the Same Person for Life, by Period, United States 70 68.0 Percentage 68.0 64.6 65 62.7 63.5 62.5 60 BOYS GIRLS 57.1 55.7 57.3 56.4 57.8 55 53.7 50 ’76-’80 ’81-’85 ’86-’90 ’91-’95 ’96-’00 ’01-’06 Number of respondents for each sex for each period is about 6,000. From 1976-1980 to 1986-1990, the trend is significantly downward for both girls and boys (p < .01 on a two-tailed test), but after 1986-1990, the trend is significantly upward for boys (p < .01 on a two-tailed test). Source: Monitoring the Future surveys conducted by the Survey Research Center at the University of Michigan. 55 FIGURE 16 Percentage of High School Seniors Who Said They Agreed or Mostly 50 Agreed That Most People Will Have Fuller and Happier Lives If They Choose Legal Marriage Rather Than Staying Single or Just Living 45 With Someone, by Period, United States Percentage 38.9 38.4 39.4 40 BOYS 37.9 38.1 36.5 37.9 35 35.7 31.1 31.6 30 30.9 GIRLS 28.5 25 ’76-’80 ’81-’85 ’86-’90 ’91-’95 ’96-’00 ’01-’06 Number of respondents for each sex for each period is about 6,000. The trend for girls is statistically significant (p <.01 on a two-tailed test). Source: Monitoring the Future surveys conducted by the Survey Research Center at the University of Michigan.
  • 12. FIGURE 17 65 Percentage of High School Seniors Who Said Having a Child Without Being Married is Experimenting with a Worthwhile Lifestyle 60 55.9 or Not Affecting Anyone Else, by Period, United States 55.8 55 53.3 54.3 50 47.8 Percentage 49.1 49.1 43.2 45 BOYS 46.6 40 41.2 40.3 35 GIRLS 30 33.3 ’76-’80 ’81-’85 ’86-’90 ’91-’95 ’96-’00 ’01-’04 Number of respondents for each sex for each period is about 6,000 except for 2001-2004, for which it is about 4,500. The trend for both boys and girls is statistically significant (p <.01 on a two-tailed test). Source: Monitoring the Future surveys conducted by the Survey Research Center at the University of Michigan. 80 FIGURE 18 Percentage of High School Seniors Who “Agreed” or “Mostly Agreed” 75 With the Statement That “It Is Usually a Good Idea for a Couple to 70 Live Together Before Getting Married in Order to 65 Find Out Whether They Really Get Along,” 65.7 by Period, United States 64.5 60 60.5 59.1 55 Percentage 57.8 57.6 50 BOYS 51.3 GIRLS 44.9 45 47.4 45.2 40 35 36.5 30 32.3 ’76-’80 ’81-’85 ’86-’90 ’91-’95 ’96-’00 ’01-’06 Number of respondents for each sex for each period is about 6,000. The overall trend is significantly upward for both girls and boys (p < .01 on a two-tailed test). Source: Monitoring the Future surveys conducted by the Survey Research Center at the University of Michigan.