Longly-Weds/Putting Off Marriage/Decline is Over! - 12/04
smartmarriages at lists101.his.com
smartmarriages at lists101.his.com
Thu Dec 2 15:12:31 EST 2004
- THE LONGLY-WEDS KNOW
- MORE IN AMERICA PUTTING OFF MARRIAGE
- MARRIED, WITH CHILDREN
- THE LONGLY-WEDS KNOW
Poem: "The Longly-Weds Know" by Leah Furnas, from To Love One Another
The Longly-Weds Know
That it isn't about the Golden Anniversary at all,
But about all the unremarkable years
that Hallmark doesn't even make a card for.
It's about the 2nd anniversary when they were surprised
to find they cared for each other more than last year
And the 4th when both kids had chickenpox
and she threw her shoe at him for no real reason
And the 6th when he accidentally got drunk on the way
home from work because being a husband and father
was so damn hard
It's about the 11th and 12th and 13th years when
they discovered they could survive crisis
And the 22nd anniversary when they looked
at each other across the empty nest, and found it good.
It's about the 37th year when she finally
decided she could never change him
And the 38th when he decided
a little change wasn't that bad
It's about the 46th anniversary when they both
bought cards, and forgot to give them to each other
But most of all it's about the end of the 49th year
when they discovered you don't have to be old
to have your 50th anniversary!!!!
>From the American Public Radio enewsletter, Writer's Almanac.
> I think a man and a woman should choose each other for life, for the simple
> reason that a long life with all its accidents is barely enough time for a man
> and a woman to understand each other and. . . To understand - is to love."
> William Butler Yeats
If couples keep marrying later and later, guess it's going to be harder and
harder for them to reach their 5oth anniversary. Though I suppose as we
live longer and longer, it might work out. Here are two different spins on
the latest Census Bureau data:
- MORE IN AMERICA PUTTING OFF MARRIAGE
By GENARO C. ARMAS
Associated Press Writer
December 1, 2004
WASHINGTON -- It used to be common for men and women to get a marriage
certificate not too long after collecting their high school diploma. Not
anymore. Census Bureau figures for 2003 show one-third of men and nearly
one-quarter of women between the ages of 30 and 34 have never been married,
nearly four times the rates in 1970.
It's further evidence young people are focusing on education and careers
before settling down and beginning families, experts say. Societal taboos
about couples living together before marriage also have eased, said Linda
Waite, a University of Chicago sociologist.
Jeni Landers, a 30-year-old law student from Boston, said she considers
living together a requirement before saying "I do."
"I don't know how people got married before living together first," said
Landers, who moved in with her fiance after getting engaged nearly a year
ago. "This is crucial to see how you get along."
Data from the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey released this week
show the age at which someone typically marries for the first time rose from
20.8 for women and 23.2 for men in 1970 to 25.3 and 27.1, respectively, last
In 1970, only 6 percent of women 30 to 34 had never been married; the figure
was 23 percent in 2003. The rate for never-married men in the same age group
rose from 9 percent to 33 percent.
Among younger women, some 36 percent of those 20 to 24 had never been
married in 1970; last year it was 75 percent. Among men in that age group,
the change was nearly as dramatic: 55 percent in 1970 to 86 percent last
"The majority of people still want to get married, but they see it sort of
as dessert now, something that's desirable rather than necessary," said
Dorion Solot, executive director of the Albany, N.Y.-based Alternatives to
Marriage Project, which aims to fight discrimination based on marital status
and to seek equality and fairness for unmarried people.
"People want to be more sure that they don't make a marriage mistake," Solot
Meanwhile, societal pressures to marry before having children have
decreased, said Thomas Coleman, executive director for the Glendale,
Calif.-based Unmarried America, which also promotes equality for unmarried
people. Among the group's concerns are tax policies which it contends are
stacked against single people.
In 2003, nearly 35 percent of all births were to unmarried women, according
to the National Center for Health Statistics. That's up from 11 percent in
1970, though the rate of increase has slowed since 1995, when 32 percent of
births were out-of-wedlock. Births to unmarried teens have declined since
Meaghan Lamarre, 24, a research assistant in Providence, R.I., said she and
her boyfriend of 10 months "are not in a big hurry to marry." Lamarre's
focus is on work and getting into an Ivy League graduate program, possibly
in public policy.
"There's no time frame of when to get married.... It's not a goal," said
Lamarre, an Alternatives to Marriage Project member. "I'm not opposed to it,
but I think I could live happily ever after without being married."
That kind of talk disturbs David Blankenhorn, president of the Institute for
American Values, a New York-based pro-marriage organization. Blankenhorn
says Lamarre's philosophy is more of a concern to him than those who delay
marriage to focus on school or a career.
Compared with 1970, Blankenhorn said, "There is a sense that marriage has a
less dominant role in our society and is less influential as a social
Having parents or family members who are divorced may also make some people
in their 20s and 30s hesitant about entering into a long-term relationship,
said Dennis Lowe, a Pepperdine University psychology professor who focuses
on counseling for engaged and married couples.
National Center for Health Statistics data show the U.S. divorce rate was
2.2 per 1,000 Americans in 1960; it rose steadily to 5.3 per 1,000 in 1981
but has declined slowly since then to 4 per 1,000 in 2001.
Census figures also show fewer Americans at older ages who have never been
married. In 1970, 8 percent of people 65 and older never had married; now
it's 4 percent.
Landers, the Boston law student, said living with her fiance is a "testing
period" as both deal with school and their careers. "We already knew what we
had was concrete, but the actual act of getting engaged holds a lot of
weight with a lot of other people," she said.
Now there's pressure to set a wedding date, though Landers said there's no
immediate plan to do so.
"It drives people crazy," she said.
Copyright © 2004, The Associated Press |
- MARRIED, WITH CHILDREN
The Hartford Courant
December 2, 2004
By MIKE SWIFT
(And, a different spin on the new Census data.
> That generation-long erosion in "traditional" American parenthood is now over,
> the U.S. Census Bureau said this week,. . . .
> "Things in family demographics move slowly. But to the extent that we've seen
> this leveling off observable now for about 10 years, it makes demographers
> more comfortable saying yes, something has happened," said Jason Fields, the
> author of the census report, America's Families and Living Arrangements, 2003.
> "At this point, it looks like a distinctly different pattern than we saw in
> the 1970s to the mid-1990s."
> "the decline of the `decline of the family' is over." !!
For 25 years, starting in the 1970s, the baby boom generation led a
relentless transformation in American parenthood: With each succeeding year,
married couples made up a smaller share of families raising children.
That generation-long erosion in "traditional" American parenthood is now
over, the U.S. Census Bureau said this week, even as the government said
stay-at-home moms outnumber stay-at-home dads by 55-to-1, and that
increasing numbers of mothers are choosing to stay at home to care for their
The United States is not returning to the
everybody-gets-married-and-has-kids creed of the 1950s, when women typically
married before they celebrated their 21st birthdays, demographers and social
But a host of factors notable in Connecticut and the rest of New England,
including low rates of divorce, big declines in the rate of teenage births,
and increases in foreign immigration have combined to end the decline in
families headed by married couples, and to stem a corresponding increase in
single parenthood. Across the United States, about two-thirds of families
with children are married couples, a share that has remained stable since
1996, the Census Bureau said in the report it released Tuesday. .
"Things in family demographics move slowly. But to the extent that we've
seen this leveling off observable now for about 10 years, it makes
demographers more comfortable saying yes, something has happened," said
Jason Fields, the author of the census report, America's Families and Living
Arrangements, 2003. "At this point, it looks like a distinctly different
pattern than we saw in the 1970s to the mid-1990s."
The Census Bureau began noticing the trend in about 2000, but it's only now
that demographers feel comfortable declaring that it is real.
"I think it's a big deal demographically," Fields said. "Only time will tell
if it will continue this way and you'll see the curve reverse and you'll see
more kids living in married couple families."
The living arrangements in which Americans are choosing to raise their
families have never been more varied, said Ron Sabatelli, a professor of
family studies at the University of Connecticut. But if marriage is no
longer viewed as the only legitimate way to have children, he said the
institution is not going away.
"I don't think we're going to go back to a traditional pattern of all
couples wanting to be married and all families with children being headed by
married couples," Sabatelli said. "But that being said, it doesn't mean that
marriage isn't a stable institution in many respects."
Connecticut was among a cluster of Northeastern states, including
Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and New York, where the number of
married-with-children households increased during the 1990s, according to
census data analyzed by Brookings Institution demographer William H. Frey.
Many Western states had an even larger increase.
The 1950s aren't coming back, Frey said. "Women aren't going to stop going
to work, and staying home and having lots of kids," he said, but "the
decline of the `decline of the family' is over."
A host of demographic trends, many of them interlocked and several
particularly pronounced in Connecticut, are combining to produce that
result, experts say. They include:
A decline in teen births. Between 1996 and 2001, the rate of births to
Connecticut girls aged 15 to 17 dropped by 38 percent, according to Annie E.
Casey Foundation statistics. That compares to a 24-percent drop in teen
birth rates for the nation.
Lower divorce rates. Since they peaked in the early 1980s, rates of divorce
have been dropping, with some of the lowest divorce rates in the Northeast,
Foreign immigration. The rapid growth in the number of Asian and Hispanic
immigrants, groups that tend to be more likely to form married couple
families, are fueling the growth in such "traditional" family units, Frey
said. In Connecticut, the population of Hispanics and Asians each grew by 10
percent or more between 2000 and 2003, the Census Bureau said.
People waiting longer to marry. In 2003, a typical first-time bride was 27 -
4.5 years older than a first-time bride in 1970, while a first-time groom
was 3.9 years older, according to census data. Experts say people who marry
at an older age are more likely to stay married.
"In the sequence of life events, marriage now is somewhat of a capstone that
follows on the feeling that you're economically stable, having economic
expectations that will be reasonably well fulfilled in the future. And then
you marry," said Barbara Dafoe Whitehead, co-director of the National
Marriage Project at Rutgers University.
The children of baby boomers who grew up in families where their parents
divorced may also be less likely to follow their parents' path.
"This just may reflect the behavior of a younger cohort that is not so prone
to divorce or break up than the baby boom generation, perhaps because they
lived through it themselves," Whitehead said.
The new census report, which is based on a survey of about 117,000 U.S.
households, also marks the first time that the bureau has attempted to
estimate the number of mothers and fathers who are staying at home primarily
to care for their children.
The United States had 5.5 million stay-at-home parents in 2003 - 5.4 million
mothers and 98,000 fathers.
The number of mothers staying at home primarily to care for their children,
while their husbands continued to work, has increased steadily over the past
10 years, growing from 4.5 million in 1994. But if more women are choosing
to be stay-at-home moms, there is no similar trend with their husbands.
The government's estimate for the number of fathers staying home to care for
their children, while their wives returned to work, has fluctuated since
1994, and their change is too little to be statistically significant, Fields
Send replies to this newslist to: diane at smartmarriages.com Do not hit
"reply" - that goes to a filter. This is a moderated list. Replies are read
by Diane Sollee, editor. Please indicate if your response is NOT to be
shared with the list. PLEASE include your email address with your
To SUBSCRIBE, or Change your subscription address,
use the form on our website: http://www.smartmarriages.com. Click Newslist -
right under the puzzle piece.
This newslist shares information on marriage, divorce and educational
approaches. Opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by members of the
To read ALL past posts to the newsletter, visit the Archive at:
9th Annual Smart Marriages Conference, Adam's Mark Dallas June 23 - 26, 2005
Pre and Post Conference Training Institutes June 21 - 29, 2005
Subscribe to the free e-newslist at www.smartmarriages.com
List your program in the Directory of Classes at www.smartmarriages.com
Order conference audio & video tapes/CD/DVDs: 800-241-7785 or
Coalition for Marriage, Family and Couples Education, LLC (CMFCE)
Diane Sollee, Director
5310 Belt Rd NW, Washington, DC 20015-1961
cmfce at smartmarriages.com
FAIR USE NOTICE: This e-newsletter contains copyrighted material the use of
which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We
make such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of
marriage, family, couples, divorce, legislation, family breakdown, etc. We
understand this constitutes a 'fair use' of such material as provided
for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17
U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit
to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included
information for research and educational purposes. For more information go
to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use
copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond
'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
More information about the SmartMarriages