Study reveals proportion of US adults aged 25 to 34 who are married has fallen
by more than 10% since 2000.
The drift in America away from marriage as the central pillarof society has
reached a cruciallandmark with the proportion of young adults who have never
married exceeding that of married couples for the first time since records began
more than a century ago.
An analysis of statistics gathered from 2009 and this year by the
Population Reference Bureau underlines the sea change that has swept across the
US since the 1970s when the steady decline in marriage as a social institution
The PRB finds that in the past decade the proportion of American adults
aged 25 to 34 who are married has fallen from 55.1% in 2000 to 44.9% last year.
Meanwhile, the percentage of young people in the same age bracket who have never
married marched inexorablyin the opposite direction, rising from 34.5% in 2000
to 46.3% in 2009.
A similarly consistent trend is found among the overall US population aged
18 and above, with married couples dropping from 57% to 52% over those nine
The authors of the report, Mark Mather and Diana Lavery, put the recent
drop in marital rates down to the economic collapse of 2008.
They suggest that young couples are delaying tying the knot or even putting
it off entirely as a result of economic distress. The costs of the ceremony,
combined with the longer-term expense associated with setting up home and having
children, appears to be turning them off the idea.
Instead, cohabitationis becoming more prevalentas an American way of life.
Again, this is part of a trend that has been going on for at least three decades
but the report suggests it has accelerated in recent years because of feelings
of economic uncertainty, particularly among men.
Regional variations indicate, however, that economic hard times do not
explain the ongoing decline of marriage completely. In Michigan, for instance,
the marriage rate fell by 9%, less than the national average, despite the fact
that this rust-belt state has suffered hugely from manufacturing decline leading
to one of the highest unemployment levels in the US.
North-eastern states, such as New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine, experienced
the largest decreases in marriage whereasin the midwest and around the Rockies
the institution held relatively steady. At city level, Cleveland and New Orleans
had the lowest proportion of young married couples, at less than 20% – not
wholly surprising given that both have a reputation for being liberal and
Population Reference Bureau (PRB) 美国人口资料局
sea change 突变；突发性彻底转变；重大变化
put down to 归因于
tie the knot 结婚
put off 取消；撤销；推迟；延迟
economic distress 经济不景气
prevalent adj. 流行的；普遍的
go on 发生；延续下去
convention breaking 打破常规
1. What's the main reason that married couples drops recently according to
2. Why did Cleveland and New Orleans have the lowest proportion of young
married couples according to the author?