The marriage rate is declining in the USA and other Western countries. You knew that. But what exactly does that mean? Men and women are still marrying. Marriage will continue, won’t it? Let’s take a look at the data for the USA.
The National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia publishes an annual report titled The State Of Our Unions which includes data on US marriage rates since 1960. From 1970 through 2008, the US marriage rate has declined from 76.5 to 37.4 marriages per 1,000 unmarried women — see the chart below:
It’s immediately obvious that the decline of marriage can be divided into two distinct periods. From 1968 through 1977, as the seismic shocks of the sexual revolution and the Vietnam war rolled through our society, the marriage rate tumbled from 79.1 to 63.6. Then from 1980 on, the marriage rate settled into a steady decline to arrive at 37.4 in 2008.
Let’s take another look at the later period of the data set:
Michael Mann, Phil Jones and the Hockey Team would have to do some serious adjustments on a data set like this. Not only is the marriage rate declining, but the rate of decline is accelerating. Let’s fit a trend line. The best fit trend lines are second and third order polynomials with R-squared of 0.9868 and 0.9871 respectively:
So there it is. If the current trend continues, sometime between 2028 and 2034 the US marriage rate will reach zero. What will America look like in year one AM?