Monday, August 19, 2013

American Women and Marriage Rates: A Long-Term View

Julissa Cruz looks at some long-run patterns of marriage rates for U.S. women in "Marriage: More Than a Century of Change," written as one of the Family Profile series published by the National Center for Family and Marriage Research at Bowling Green State University. Here are some striking patterns.

"The proportion of women married was highest in 1950 at approximately 65%. Today, less than half 47%) of women 15 and over are married— the lowest percentage since the turn of the century."

"The proportion of women married has declined among all racial/ ethnic groups since the 1950s. This
decline has been most dramatic for Hispanic and Black women, who experienced 33% and 60% declines in the proportion of women married, respectively."
Back in 1940, education level made relatively little difference to the likelihood that a woman was married, but women with less education were more likely to be married. Those patterns have now changed. Education levels now show a much larger correlation with whether a women is married, and women with less education have become much less likely to be married.

I'll forebear from offering a dose of pop sociology about the changing nature of marriage and what it all means. But clearly, the changes over recent decades are substantial.