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Percentage of Married Couples at Record Low
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The percentage of married Americans has fallen to record lows, reflecting the evolving shift in attitudes about the role of marriage in society, according to a new census analysis released Wednesday by the Pew Research Center.

The report shows that married couples are on the brink of becoming the minority, with only 51 percent of American adults currently married. That figure is down from 57 percent at the turn of the millennium, according to Pew.

The Washington Post explains that the current figures are likely due to couples pairing off at older ages: a median age of 26 for women, and 29 for men. For comparison, in 1960, when 72 percent of adults were married, the median age for brides was 20, and grooms were just a few years older.


A 2010 Pew survey found that more than 40 percent of adults under 30 considered the very institution of marriage anachronistic. "They see it as an obsolete social environment," D’Vera Cohn, a Pew researcher who co-wrote the analysis, told the Post. "People say they want to get married, but Americans are much less likely to actually be married than in the past."

The drop in marriage rates has only been exacerbated by the sputtering economy. According the U.S. Census Bureau, 7.5 million couples were living together without being married—a 13 percent increase in the span of a year. In many cases, the two couldn’t afford to maintain two homes, so they shacked up together without tying the knot.

Pew found that college graduates are much more likely to get married. Over two-thirds of graduates are married, while less than half of adults without a college degree are wed.


http://slatest.slate.com/posts/2011/12/14/wedded_adults_at_record_lows.html

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