Why Have Marriage Rates Hit a New All-Time Low?

myFOXdc.com reported this week about how marriage rates have hit a new, all-time low in the latest census data.  Are you surprised?  And, how bad is this trend?  Plus, why have marriage rates dropped this precipitously?  First, lets look at the actual data …

The percentage of U. S. adults who have never been married hit a new, all-time low.  Compare the numbers from 1960 with the latest available data in 2012.  Back in 1960, about 10% of adults over age 25 had never been married.  In 2012, in sharp contrast, about 20% of adults over the age of 25 had never been married.  That’s an incredible doubling of over 25 never married individuals percentages.

Can we expect this cultural trend to continue?  The answer is probably, unless there is a significant change in the American culture.

What are possible causes of this dramatic shift away from marriage?  Here’s a list to think about …

1. 34% of young adults cite financial security as a major obstacle.  Given the fact that our economic recovery is possibly the weakest since the Great Depression, this makes sense.  Also, with over 93 million Americans who could work not working, this fact might also account for the skepticism and widespread shift away from taking on the added responsibility of marriage.

2. The news report also suggests that the social stigmas associated with co-habitation without marriage and having out-of-wedlock children have largely disappeared.

3. Some tax penalties for married couples and benefit penalties for individuals might be an additional factor.  As an example, two people might see more government benefits as singles than as a married couple whose joint income is higher than their individual single incomes.

4. Finally, a point being debated is whether the rise of same sex marriages might have diminished the respect and value of traditional marriage.  Some might take the point of view that marriage is what you want it to be.  For example, if same sex marriage is OK, why not other forms of marriage such as polyamory in which multiple partners create some type of sexual/emotional/economic bond.  Some might conclude that traditional marriage is no longer as valuable.

For more information on Freedom and the American culture, please read my new book: Renewing America and Its Heritage of Freedom: What Freedom-Loving Americans Can Do to Help.

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