11 Interesting Charts About The Decline Of Marriage In America

shotgun wedding chart

Photo: satanoid via Flickr/Pew Research centre

People just aren’t getting married like they used to.Marriage has sharply declined over the past 50 years, from 68% of 20-somethings being wed in 1960 versus only 26% of the same age group in 2008, according to a 2010 study from the Pew Research centre.

The family is still staying strong though, it just looks a little different.

The research centre worked with TIME Magazine to conduct the study, which also has analysis from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Income, education level and changing attitudes about the family and marriage as an institution have all contributed to the drop in marriage rates, the study found.

In 2008, just over half of people over the age of 18 were married, compared to nearly three-quarters of people in 1960.

39% per cent of Americans have noticed the downfall of marriage. That's up from the 28% who agreed with the same question in 1978.

With a change in views about marriage comes a change in views about sex. More Americans are OK with premarital sex than they were in 1969.

Across the decades, higher levels of education have corresponded to higher marriage rates.

Wives have also entered the work force. Nearly twice as many wives worked in 2008 than they did in 1960.

However, a change in marriage trends might not be a bad thing.

Americans are increasingly accepting of non-traditional families, with 80% saying an unmarried couple with children is considered a family.

As views change, so does society. In 2008, 41% of births were to unmarried women, compared to 5% in 1960.

But opinions haven't changed entirely. Nearly 70% of respondents said it was bad for more single women to have kids.

And 43% said it was a bad thing for gay and lesbian couples to raise children.

But not everyone is a pessimist. 67% were optimistic about the institutions of marriage and family, while only half felt the same way about the U.S. education system.

If you're still thinking about marriage, the proposal is a pretty important step

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