Number of Long-Lasting Marriages in U.S. Has Risen, Census Bureau Reports

Carol Morello, Washington Post, May 18, 2011

Americans may be postponing marriage, and fewer are wedding at all. But what about the people who do get married? They’re staying together longer than they have in years.

Three in four couples who married after 1990 celebrated a 10-year anniversary, according to census statistics reported Wednesday. That was a rise of three percentage points compared with couples who married in the early 1980s, when the nation’s divorce rate was at its highest.

One reason for the increase, said demographers and sociologists who study families, is that people are marrying later in life, after they have completed their education. Not only are they more mature, but they also are more financially secure.

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Researchers increasingly are finding a connection between marriage and education. In 2009, 31 percent of brides had a college degree, up from 21 percent in 1996.

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The Marriage Project has found that people without a college degree are three times as likely to divorce in the first 10 years as those with a college degree.

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Most Americans marry once and stick to it.

According to the census statistics, more than half of the nation’s married couples have been together at least 15 years. About a third have marked their 25th anniversaries, and 6 percent have been married more than 50 years.

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Nationwide, divorce rates have leveled off since peaking in the 1980s. Roughly four in 10 marriages end in divorce. But the rate varies significantly among different races and ethnicities.

Among black women, half of first marriages end in divorce, a rate that is far greater those for white, Hispanic and Asian women.

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As with divorce, marriage rates vary with race and ethnicity. Seven out of 10 black women in their 20s have never married, a dramatic increase from the mid-1980s.

Census demographers noted that the percentage of never-married black women 55 and older rose to 13 percent in 2009. The magnitude of the change suggests that many more black women than white women will never marry, the report said.

The census also showed that a higher proportion of people who have married recently are Hispanic, which is the fastest-growing minority group in the country. In 1996, about one in 10 recently married adults was Hispanic. By 2009, it had increased to one in five.

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  • rjp

    There are blacks that get married?

    What’s the rate of child support payment by divorced black males?

  • NBJ

    Well this is certainly some good news for a change. It’s funny I should see this article today, because my husband and I will celebrate our 16th wedding anniversary tomorrow. However, we’ve actually been together for 20 years. They key to our success? Communication and compromise. Oh, and just knowing when to shut up and let it go sometimes! (wink)

  • Question Diversity

    My theory: The increase acceptance of non-marital cohabitation, both heterosexual and homosexual. A man and a woman who just want to “be together” for awhile (sex being part of the deal) no longer feel the need to be married formally as they would have in previous decades. Also, men and women who have homosexual inclinations no longer feel it necessary to hide them behind a heterosexual marriage.

    This is leaving real marriage to people who really want to be married. Ergo, more and more marriages are lasting longer.

  • Crystal

    Also #3. Unlike in the past, men who impregnanted women are no longer required to marry them to give the child a name.

  • Anonymous

    You should see how the white hipsters pass each other around like an old newspaper. It’s a revolving door of dating. Very little family values in the hip, urban white community, though they eventually marry.

  • Alexandra

    I agree with NBJ.

    My husband and I will celebrate our 18th anniversary in August. I was 20 when we were married.

    Problem with marriage today is, people don’t have the mindset that they’re in it for the long haul. Instead of “until death do us part,” it’s “until I get bored.”

    And as for blacks, given how loud and in-your-face black women can be, I don’t think there are that many men who want to put up with their attitude.

  • kgb

    This is the culture that gave us the terms Baby Daddy and Baby Mama — because the notion of marriage and parenthood is so utterly alien to them.

    I wouldn’t care, except that our society gets to foot the bill for their offspring and criminal behavior.

  • Anonymous

    5 — Anonymous wrote at 10:06 PM on May 19:

    You should see how the white hipsters pass each other around like an old newspaper. It’s a revolving door of dating. Very little family values in the hip, urban white community, though they eventually marry.

    —————————————————————

    Good grief! Another troll? Maybe you need to go to these ghetto and barrio clubs? Maybe you need to sit a some Welfare office for awhile and see all the black and brown kids swarming the place.

    “Very little family values in the hip, urban white community, though they eventually marry.”

    Gee, I guess we can say that about ALL the races in this country, right? When America started desegregation, 3rd world immigration, feminist movement, etc. what the heck did you expect to happen? Put once good kids with the bad cultures, races and what do you get? The good do not bring “up” the bad. The bad brings down the good. Every time.

  • rjp

    Re: 3 — Question Diversity

    My theory: The increase acceptance of non-marital cohabitation, both heterosexual and homosexual. …

    This is leaving real marriage to people who really want to be married. Ergo, more and more marriages are lasting longer.

    But HOMOSEXUALS are the one’s who are crazy for marriage.

    Marrage as it is generally results in births. Birth rate equals population growth/decline/stagnation. Homosexuals can’t increse population with out outside intervention. The only hope for a nation like the USA is population growth that produces responsible citizens.