What’s behind marriage rates declining?

What’s behind marriage rates declining?

Most people think that “marriage” is the promised land of sorts, where every day is filled with rainbows and butterflies simply because they’re in committed relationship. I know this romantic fairy tale is fed to us routinely as we grow up. But I found some stats via a Scientific American podcast and on the Gallup Poll web site  that belie those dreamy notions.

bride and groom splitAccording to the Gallup site, the Census Bureau reports that marriage rates are declining rapidly, from 9.9 marriages per 1,000 Americans in 1987 to 6.8 in 2011. In addition, researchers at the University of Maryland found that the marriage rate per 1,000 unmarried women fell from 90 in 1950, at the height of the baby boom, to just 31 in 2011.

I thought it was interesting because until recently, the news on everyone’s lips was how the divorce rate was skyrocketing – 1 in every 2 marriages end in divorce. But now the divorce rate is declining – and no wonder.

I was talking with a handful of women about these statistics and most of them believed that the reason behind the decline is a growing fear of commitment or a fear of intimacy. “Men are afraid to commit or be vulnerable” — I hear that one a lot.

To some extent there may be a kernel of truth behind that… maybe people are not getting married out of fear of getting divorced. Yet I’d like to think that maybe what’s catching on is the idea that being single is an opportunity to create a life you love first so then people can attract the partner that is right for them – a partnership that has successful odds — if that is something they want to experience. This is certainly the way that I regard being single – as an opportunity – and as result, people are delaying getting married.

So what do you think?

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