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Married Couple No Longer a Majority in USA

The American family has reached a milestone: according to the Census Bureau, married couples are now no longer a majority in American households.

“The days of Ozzie and Harriet have faded into the past,” said William Frey, the senior demographer at Brookings who analyzed the data. [...]

Today, traditional patterns have been turned upside down. Women with college degrees are now more likely to marry than those with just high school diplomas, the reverse of several decades ago, said June Carbone, a law professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and co-author of “Red Families v. Blue Families.”

Rising income inequality has divided American society, making college-educated people less likely to marry those without college degrees. Members of that educated group have struck a new path: they marry later and stay married. In contrast, women with only a high school diploma are increasingly opting not to marry the fathers of their children, whose fortunes have declined along with the country’s economic opportunities.

“Employment instability depresses marriage rates,” Ms. Carbone said. Explaining the reasoning, she said, “I can support myself and the kid, but not myself, the kid, and him.”

(Photo: Reluctant Groom from the NeatoShop)

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May 28th, 2011

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