Why Fewer Women Getting Married
According to a media release issued by Bowling Green State University, The National Center for Family and Marriage Research released a new Family Profile demonstrating less women are getting married and women are waiting a longer period of time before taking their vows than in the past.
The press release went on to say, according to “Marriage: More than a Century of Change,” the U.S. marriage rate is 31.1, the lowest it’s been in over a century.
According to The National Center for Family and Marriage Research, since 1970, the marriage rate has declined by almost 60 percent. “Marriage is no longer compulsory,” said Dr. Susan Brown, co-director of the NCFMR in a press release. “It’s just one of an array of options. Increasingly, many couples choose to cohabit and still others prefer to remain single.”
In its findings, The National Center for Family and Marriage Research noted a woman’s average age at first marriage is the highest it’s been in over a century, at nearly 27 years old. ”The age at first marriage for women and men is at a historic highpoint and has been increasing at a steady pace,” Dr. Wendy Manning, co-director of the Center said in a press release.
In further findings, the NCFMR family profile report explained: “an increase in the proportion of women who are separated or divorced is more evident now. In 1920, less than 1 percent of women were either divorced or separated in contrast to today’s 15 percent.” “The divorce rate remains high in the U.S., and individuals today are less likely to remarry than they were in the past,” said Brown in a press release.
The report noted overall the marriage rate has declined across all racial and ethnic groups, and the greatest decline is seen among African Americans.
Experts not related to The National Center for Family and Marriage Research also provided insight as to why fewer women are getting married.
Dr. Scott Haltzamn, MD, psychiatrist, a family and marriage researcher and Distinguished Fellow at The American Psychiatric Association shed further light. He said there are two factors that account for why fewer women are getting married and waiting longer to decide on officially “walking down the aisle.” Dr. Haltzman explained in an e-mail, “First, the lack of models for successful,happy,intact marriages in the lives of young women (and men), and secondly, the increased educational levels and work aspirations for women over the last two generations.”
Tina B. Tessina, PhD, a psychotherapist and author of The 10 Smartest Decisions A Woman Can Make Before 40 said in an e-mail interview, “Many young women have grown up in divorced or single parent households, so they have little experience of what good marriages look like. Even if their own parents’ marriage is intact, they’re surrounded by peers whose parents are having relationship disasters”.
Dr. Tessina said the media has also been influential. “The media has a lot of focus on celebrities whose relationships are dysfunctional, and reality TV thrives on bad relationships featuring emotionally immature and dysfunctional people. It’s no surprise, then, that young women are gun-shy. Where will they get their images of what functional relationships and healthy marriages look like? They will have to learn as they go, which means having a number of bad relationships before they figure out how to create a good one, and how to choose a good partner.”
Dr. Tessina also said many women associate marriage with starting families, and hence delay marriage in order to focus on careers.
“Women also often equate marriage with having children, so if they have careers, they want to wait and develop their careers first. Women are delaying marriage for career. Career is more important to younger women than to previous generations. Because of medical advances, they can postpone having a family, and they don’t worry about being too old to bear children — so they delay marriage, or they feel they can have children on their own.”
Dr.Carole Lieberman M.D., psychiatrist and author of Bad Girls: Why Men Love Them and How Good Girls Can Learn Their Secrets explained in an e-mail, “Less women are getting married or waiting longer to take their vows because they are scarred from their parents’ and perhaps even grandparents’ divorce. Men and women are more skittish these days about committing to marriage because they have lived through the pain of their parents’ divorce and don’t want to suffer from a failed marriage themselves. Children of divorce are afraid of emotional intimacy and commitment because they have seen how one’s fairytale romance can fall apart and leave you broken hearted.”
In gathering information for the new Family Profile,The National Center for Family and Marriage Research explained, “Researchers analyzed data from the National Vital Statistics “100 Years of Marriage and Divorce Statistics United States 1867-1967,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/National Center for Health Statistics, and the U.S. Census Bureau.”