Marriage, Divorce, And Family – How Has It Changed?

Marriage may be an institution, but is it liable to change? The idealistic definition of marriage, i.e. a process by which two people make their relationship official, public and permanent (till death do us part), doesn’t sit well with the real picture of marriage today.

Marriage in the United States continues to decline, as the most recent data on the subject shows. Even so called rigid institutions are subject to change-what it meant in the ‘good old years’, what it means now, how important the concept of marriage is-has all changed.

The study mentioned above looks back at trends, tendencies and correlation between marriage and divorce over the span of 5 decades. The findings all signal to a rapid decline in marriage and traditional family.

Marriage, Divorce, And the Traditional Family – An Interesting Portrait

Various studies on this subject have shown that fewer than half (46%) of U.S. children of dependable age live in a traditional home, i.e. with heterosexual parents and in their first marriage.

There has been a decidedly marked change between now and 1960 or 1980 when more children fit that description, according to Pew Research Center.

The American family structure, as we once knew it, has changed. Now, families have become more complex and less traditional. Here is why:

Individuals Are Less Likely To Marry

This has been the biggest and most important reason for rapid change in American family structure.

People today are less likely to marry, with a rising focus on their careers-especially for women. In fact, marriage rate among single women decreased by almost half from 1970 to 2010! The idea of marrying young has all but vanished. That brings us to our second change.

Individuals More Likely To Delay Marriage

There are many reasons why people are delaying marriage, for until much later in life. It may have something to do with changing lifestyles and more career-oriented women, but fact of the matter is, people don’t give importance to marriage anymore.

As opposed to 1960, when the meridian age for women (to get married) was 20.3 years old and for men was 22.8, now people are pushing marriage well until their 30s.

Increase in Single-Parent Households

As of 2013, percentage of two-parent families showed a sharp decline over the past decade in all 50 states.

Most importantly (and worryingly), about one-third of American kids-15 million-are raised without a father.

On the other hand, children living without a mother account to nearly five million more. A number of reasons can be attributed to this trend-rise in divorce, births and co-habitation outside of marriage.

Individuals Are Less Child Focused

Historically speaking, marriage was always about raising kids and furthering the family name. Until 1960, unions between two consenting adults revolved around this idea.

However, it has changed as well. In 2011, only 32% of households had children. Individuals are now delaying having children or deciding not to have them at all!

This has brought about another change: those individuals who do decide to have children-but later don’t wish to stay with their spouse-divorce without any concern for their children’s stability.

In an ideal world, there would be lesser divorces and more happy families. But this isn’t an ideal world. People get together, marry (or live in unmarried co-habitation), have kids; then one fine day, decide to split.

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