For the 51% of US Adults Who Are Married
The news media love to declare the end of marriage. Yes, lots more of the over-18 crowd were married back in 1970. Now it is 51% (counting only opposite-sex marriages, per the federal definition of marriage).
Should you feel less in the mainstream if you are married? Hardly.
Thirty seven percent of Americans over the age of 18 have been married to the same person for at least the last 10 years. Another fourteen percent married within the past ten years and remain married.
Who is not married? The young.
Three times as many of the over-18 crowd are in college now as in 1970. The result? Now, instead of 42% of first-time brides marrying before their 20th birthday, only 7% do. This is good, because the under-20 marriages were less stable. Women marry about six years later now, and men have always married later than women, but we still use the 18-and-up or sometimes 15-and-up population to divide by.
Who else is not married? Those who outlive their spouses.
For every 10 marriages that end in divorce each year now, 12 end as promised, leaving behind a widow or widower.
Is marriage finished? Not yet.
Three out of every ten new marriages are second, third, or greater marriages, suggesting a lot of those who divorce or outlive their partners still have confidence in marriage.
I do, too.
Data Source: www.census.gov/prod/2011pubs/acs-13.pdf