You wouldn’t know it judging from the ridiculous number of people I know who’ve gotten married or engaged recently, but according to new census data, marriage is on its way out. We’ve been hearing for years now that young people are opting to get married later and later, if at all. But now there’s statistical proof that married couples no longer make up the majority of the population. At 48% in 2010, they now make up less than half of US households.
To put that number in perspective, married couples made up 78% of households in 1950. If 48% still doesn’t seem like such a small number, then consider the fact that only a fifth of that 48% are “traditional families,” meaning married couples with children.
As someone who’s in absolutely no rush to be married, it’s easy for me to understand the many reasons people are taking a step back from the alter. For one thing, more and more people are choosing to live together before marriage, meaning they could feel less of a sense of urgency. Finances, namely debt, could also play a large role in the decline. By the time most people graduate from college, they are in thousands of dollars worth of debt, a number that will only continue to increase as tuition rates go up each year. The focus is on working hard, establishing a career and paying off that debt, not on getting hitched.
But it’s not just that people are taking their time to get married, it’s become so that they aren’t getting married at all. The whole idea of settling down any time soon scares me to no end it just doesn’t top my list of current priorities. But, with that said, the idea that marriage could eventually become virtually extinct is a scary thought. The romantic in me takes comfort in knowing that an institution exists that allows me to bond my life to someone when the time comes… eventually.