October 16th, 2006

Married Couples are the New Minority

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The Seattle Times has an article stating that for the first time, married couples are in the minority.

The American Community Survey, released this month by the Census Bureau, found that 49.7 percent, or 55.2 million, of the nation’s 111.1 million households in 2005 were made up of married couples — with and without children — just shy of a majority and down from more than 52 percent five years earlier.

The numbers by no means suggest marriage is dead or necessarily that a tipping point has been reached. The total number of married couples is higher than ever, and most Americans eventually marry. But marriage has been facing more competition. A growing number of adults are spending more of their lives single or living unmarried with partners, and the potential social and economic implications are profound.

The readers of this blog might not find it too surprising that Utah County has the highest marriage rate:

The survey revealed wide disparities in household composition by place. The proportion of married couples ranged from more than 69 percent in Utah County, Utah, which includes Provo, to 26 percent in Manhattan, which has a smaller share of married couples than almost anyplace in the country.

The Family: A Proclamation to the World outlines the consequence of such a trend:

Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.

7 Responses to “Married Couples are the New Minority”

  1. Dan
    October 16, 2006 at 12:44 pm #

    I saw that this morning on the Today show. Very sad. Our country is definitely not heading in a good direction.

  2. Steve M.
    October 16, 2006 at 1:51 pm #

    I don’t know if the proportion of the population that is married is necessarily a good measure of whether or not the family is dissintegrating in America. There are many people who live in committed relationships and raise children in a family setting who don’t get married till later on. Some may not agree with the sequencing of these life events, but that doesn’t mean these people don’t enjoy a happy, healthy family life.

  3. Connor
    October 16, 2006 at 1:54 pm #

    Sure, they can enjoy a happy, healthy family life… but it’s against God’s commandments as explicitly outlined in the Proclamation.

    We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.

    So, the fact that there are cohabitating couples out there with kids is yet another evidence that the “family” (husband, wife, and kids—not non-commital man, non-commital woman, and kids) is disintegrating.

  4. Steve M.
    October 16, 2006 at 8:27 pm #

    I wouldn’t call all of these unmarried parents non-commital. Many of them have chosen to start families with their partners, which is a definite commitment.

    While starting a family outside of marriage may be at odds with a Latter-day Saint value system, many of these couples raise good, healthy children who become productive members of society and good citizens.

    The structure of the American family might be changing, and I certainly understand the concerns this raises for conservatives, but I still don’t think “disintegrating” is the right word for the situation. While there may be disagreement about some values, I think that many unmarried parents, including homosexual couples, are genuinely devoted to each other and their children, and are raising good families.

    I recognize that there are forces in society that threaten the family. But I think it’s also important to recognize that there are those whose family values don’t 100% line up with those of Latter-day Saints, but who are still devoted to their partners and families.

  5. Dan
    October 16, 2006 at 8:47 pm #

    The problem is not their devotion one to another. I’m sure that many of them are very devoted…..but for how long?

    The problem is that the degradation of our society will occur slowly, when the only time that we can truly see clearly how much it has degraded is when it is too late. I’m not conservative, but when it comes to family values and marriage, nothing is more important to the strength of our society than the family as God designed it.

  6. October 16, 2006 at 10:21 pm #

    Frankly, I am glad other people feel that parents should be married!!! I have had to keep that opinion to myself on too many occasions. Marriage is a committment, and i believe that children benefit greatly from having both parents in the home. We’ve become too accepting, I feel, of people who have children and aren’t committed enough to the other parent to be married. We see too often celebrities having children out of wedlock; it sets a bad example.

  7. fontor
    October 17, 2006 at 12:44 am #

    Chill, my good people.

    The meaning of ‘the family’ has changed and evolved over time. The meaning of marriage, the status of the wife as either property or co-equal, the role of extended family members — all these things have fluctuated over time and are different in different cultures.

    I suppose if you wish to worry about this issue, you may. But family structure will continue to evolve and change, just as it always has, long after we’re gone.

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