For the first time since researchers have kept track, married couples no longer make up the majority in America. The total has slipped below 50% according to the U.S. Census Department. The latest figures reveal that 50.3% of all households in America are headed up by an unmarried person.
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There are a number of factors suspected in the decline of marriage. The poor economy has resulted in more break ups as couples fight over money. There is an abundance of same sex unions that are impacting the marriage totals. There is also a growing acceptance of men and women living together out of wedlock. Couples disillusioned by marriage for whatever reason would rather live together without the permanent commitment.
It is amazing to look at the statistics and see how things have changed in America over the past 60 years. In 1950, the percentage of households headed up by someone who was married was 78%. By 1980, the percentage slipped to around 60% and was at 50% by the year 2000. Some say the decline can be directly linked to sexual revolution of the seventies while others cite racial and ethnic diversity. You can track a wide variety of lifestyle changes at sussa.org.
There are socio-economic reasons behind the decline as well. The research shows that people who have higher education degrees are more likley to get married and stay married. At the same time, women who only completed high school are more likely to stay single and raise children on their own. The experts doubt that marriage will make a rebound and look for the decline to continue.