A new Pew Research Center report analyzes trends in marriage rates, age at first marriage and number of new marriages. It finds that barely half of U.S. adults are married, continuing a downward trend. In addition, the median age at first marriage for men and women has never been higher. And the number of people who married within the past year fell 5% from 2009 to 2010.
The Decline of Marriage
The transformative trends of the past 50 years that have led to a sharp decline in marriage and a rise of new family forms have been shaped by attitudes and behaviors that differ by class, age and race. Using survey and Census data the Pew Research Center examines the major changes in marriage and family life.
Today’s 18 to 29 year olds – members of the so-called Millennial Generation – see parenthood and marriage differently than today’s thirty-somethings (members of Generation X) did back when they were in their late teens and twenties, according to a new analysis of Pew Research Center survey findings. Unlike their older counterparts, Millennials value parenthood much more than marriage.
The American public is sharply divided in its judgments about the sweeping changes in the structure of the American family that have unfolded over the past half century. About a third generally accepts the changes; a third is tolerant but skeptical; and a third considers them bad for society.
Today, more than four-in-ten American adults have at least one step relative in their family – either a stepparent, a step or half sibling or a stepchild.
The pre-eminent family unit of the mid-20th century—mom, dad and the kids—no longer has the stage to itself. A variety of new arrangements have emerged, giving rise to a broader and evolving definition of what constitutes a family.
In a reversal of long-standing marital patterns, college-educated young adults are more likely than young adults lacking a bachelor’s degree to have married by the age of 30.