Why Get Married? More Americans are Marrying Later, If At All

Aug 8, 2016

Why get married?  That's a question many Americans are asking these days - with rates of people tying the knot lower now than any time in U.S. History.  And even those who do get hitched are waiting longer, with average marriage ages up for both sexes.  We’ll look at these trends, what's behind them, and what their impacts may be.

This program was originally broadcast on 5/11/16

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  • The New York Times - The Disestablishment of Marriage:  “At first glance, the prognosis for marriage looks grim. Between 1950 and 2011, according to calculations by the University of Maryland sociologist Philip Cohen, the marriage rate fell from 90 marriages a year per 1,000 unmarried women to just 31, a stunning 66 percent decline. If such a decline continued, there would be no women getting married by 2043! But rumors of the death of marriage are greatly exaggerated. People are not giving up on marriage. They are simply waiting longer to tie the knot.”
  • Pew Research - Record Share of Americans Have Never Married: "After decades of declining marriage rates and changes in family structure, the share of American adults who have never been married is at an historic high. In 2012, one-in-five adults ages 25 and older (about 42 million people) had never been married, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of census data. In 1960, only about one-in-ten adults (9%) in that age range had never been married."
  • Eli Finkel in the New York Times - The All or Nothing Marriage: “Marriage, then, has increasingly become an “all or nothing” proposition. This conclusion not only challenges the conventional opposition between marital decline and marital resilience; but it also has implications for policy makers looking to bolster the institution of marriage — and for individual Americans seeking to strengthen their own relationships.