Reaching out to Catholic/Christians Individuals/Families

12/22/2011 The collapse of marriages in the USA and beyond – The Vatican 3rd January 2012

A report published in recent days by the Pew Research Center says that by now only 51 percent of U.S. adults are currently married
Marco Tosatti
If one compares today with 1960, when 72 percent of all adults (which at the time meant all those who were eighteen or older) were married, this represents a historic low for the United States, and according to the report it represents many other “advanced post-industrial societies.”

The report also reveals that the number of adults who have never married has nearly doubled since 1960, going from 15 to 28 percent of the total, and that the average age for first marriage has risen from 20.3 years to 26.5 years for women and from 22.8 to 28.7 for men.

In this phenomenon the role of public opinion must also be considered, the way it was formed based on the dominant culture propagated by the media, and the permissive society set off by the 60s. “Public attitude towards the institution of marriage is mixed,” notes Conh and public authorities. “According to a survey by Pew Research, completed in 2010, about four in ten Americans say that marriage is becoming obsolete. But the same poll found that most of those who never married, and that is 61 percent, would love to, one day or another.”

The report in question reveals that two-thirds of adults with a higher academic degree are married (64 percent); while this figure drops to just under half of the total for those who have had a college education (48 percent), or high school education (47 percent). If you consider the age in relation to marriage, research shows that the decline in marriage among adults is dramatically evident in young people. Only the nine percent of adults between 18 and 24 years of age were married in 2010, while in 1960 it was 45 percent. Among adults between the ages of 25 and 34, less than half were married in 2010 (44 per cent, exactly); in 1960 it was 82 percent. Although the majority of Americans in their the mid thirties or older are married, the proportions have significantly decreased compared to 1960.

The study also considered the statistics of marriage according to the ethnical race, finding that more than half (55 percent) of white adults are married, with a net decrease from the 74 percent in 1960. Among Hispanics, the number of married couples reaches 48 percent, while in 1960 it was 72 percent; and among blacks, only 31 percent are married, while in 1960 this was 61 percent. “Researchers say that some differences between the groups can be explained by the fact that, because of the way in which Hispanic and black communities are structured, the number of young people is greater than for whites.” However, compared to 50 years ago marriage enters people’s life an average of six years later.

The report has made yet another discovery. The number of new marriages in the United States fell by 5 percent between 2009 and 2010, a sharp drop over one year, probably due to the economic situation.

The phenomenon, however, is not exclusive to the United States. “The United States are not the only country where marriage has been losing positions for half a century. The same trend has taken hold in the most advanced post-industrial societies, and these long-term declines appear largely unrelated to the economic cycle. The decline has remained constant, both during good and bad economic times.”

Indeed, according to sociologist W. Bradford Wilcox, the steady decrease in the number of marriages is attributable to three factors: the change in societal values​​, policy decisions and economic factors. According to Wilcox, the greater difficulty in finding a steady job can lead to couples living together, and delay the moment of marriage. Furthermore, it is also clear that society’s culture has become more individualistic, and ready to accept alternatives to marriage such as pre-marital sex and cohabitation. Wilcox also points out that marriage is no longer favored by public policy and sometimes, from a financial point of view, it is penalized by law thereby creating an incentive for couples not to formalize their union.

The 2010 study actually showed that despite the growing numbers, as far as cohabitation, divorce and children with one parent are concerned, 95 percent of Americans under 30 had projects for a future marriage. “Marriage, although it is declining in all groups, remains the norm for adults who have college-level education and a good income, but is now markedly less prevalent in the lower levels of the socio-economic ladder,” declared the Pew report, explaining that people in disadvantaged groups probably would have wanted the wedding just like everyone else, but gave priority to economic security as a pre-condition for marriage.

“If this trend continues – wrote one of the drafters of the report, D’Vera Cohn – the percentage of adults who are currently married will drop by more than half in a few years. The other methods and ways of life of adults – including cohabitation, families with a single person and single parent families; well in recent decades this has become prevalent.”

Even religion, and separation from it, plays a role. A report by the National Marriage Project, completed in 2010, highlights some characteristics. Non-religious people “are more likely to divorce than those who are religiously committed” and cohabitation is more common among non-religious individuals. Americans in past decades have gradually disengaged from many institutions, including churches. According to Wilcox, the tendency to abandon marriage can cause damage to American society. Married couples are statistically happier and children are best when raised by married parents, among other things, they show a lower tendency towards depression and drug use.


January 3, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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