Skip to comments.7 Reasons Marriage Is Falling Apart in America
Posted on 04/06/2013 7:32:02 AM PDT by Kaslin
It's no secret that marriage has been in decline in America, but most people don't realize how quickly it has been crumbling. The numbers are staggering and the sea change in attitude that has gone along with them would shock previous generations of Americans.
"In 1960, two-thirds (68%) of all twenty-somethings were married. In 2008, just 26% were." "To get a sense of how different attitudes were in the 1960s, perhaps this will do it. (M)arried women were asked, In your opinion, do you think it is all right for a woman to have sexual relations before marriage with a man she knows she is going to marry? ...Eighty-six percent said no."
The damage to our society caused by this decline in marriage is almost incalculable.
According to the Index of Leading Cultural Indicators, children from single-parent families account for 63 percent of all youth suicides, 70 percent of all teenage pregnancies, 71 percent of all adolescent chemical/substance abuse, 80 percent of all prison inmates, and 90 percent of all homeless and runaway children.
A study cited in the Village Voice produced similar numbers. It found that children brought up in single-mother homes are five times more likely to commit suicide, nine times more likely to drop out of high school, 10 times more likely to abuse chemical substances, 14 times more likely to commit rape (for the boys), 20 times more likely to end up in prison, and 32 times more likely to run away from home.
There are no easy fixes for this problem, but before we can even begin to consider solutions, we need to get a better understanding of what has gone wrong. Why is marriage collapsing in America? What are the root causes of the phenomenon? If studies show that married couples are happier, more financially secure and generally better off across just about every variable you can imagine, why are there so many people who are reluctant to get married?
1) The Sexual Revolution: There have always been people who've had sex outside of marriage, but there was a time when that was widely considered shameful. Fifty years ago, a book like The Thrill of the Chaste: Finding Fulfillment While Keeping Your Clothes On would have been considered nothing more than obvious common sense. Today, if you write a book like that, you'll end up on TV facing hosts who can't believe there's anyone left who believes in not having sex before marriage. In other words, the promise of easy access to sex used to be a big reason to get married. These days? Fifty nine percent of people polled at MSN Dating said they would have sex within the first three dates and less than 7% said they would wait until marriage.
2) The Inability Of Many Poor Men To Support A Family: There was a time in America where a hard working man with a high school degree and limited skills could still make enough money to support himself, a wife and a child or two. Granted, they might have had to scrape by, but they were able to make it. Unfortunately, as automation and technology have replaced some of those jobs and others have moved overseas to workers in China and India, the economic prospects for many men in this group have plunged. What that means as a practical matter is that a lot of men who would have been married and providing for a family in a previous era are now single and can barely afford to take care of themselves.
3) A "Marrying Up" Gap: Women have always been inclined to "marry up." In a world where female incomes have dramatically increased and there have been more women than men getting college degrees for the last twenty years, that means many ladies believe they have a much smaller pool of potentially acceptable mates than ever before. The male CEO may be content to marry the pretty maid who wants to take care of him, but a female CEO probably isn't going to marry a butler.
4) No Fault Divorce: When Ronald Reagan was governor of California, he signed the nation's first "no fault" divorce bill into law. Later on, Reagan called that act his "greatest regret." It should have been because it led to those laws, which made divorce much easier to get, spreading across the country. As a result, between 1960 and 1980, the divorce rate in America more than doubled. Happily, the numbers have since stabilized, but they ended up almost twice as high as they were before. The more divorces there are, the less attractive marriage becomes because it increases the risk factor. "No fault" or not, divorce is usually a devastating process for everyone involved and the more likely marriages are to end in divorce, the less likely people will be to want to get married in the first place.
5) Increased Economic Options For Women: There was a time when the surest path to economic security for women was to get married. Today, that's not necessarily true. Women on the low end of the pay scale can have the government step in to pay many of their bills. Women with college degrees or in demand skills can make just as much as a man if they're willing to put in the same hours. Those additional economic options make marriage -- and staying in a difficult marriage -- less attractive to women.
6) Marriage has become a much less attractive option for men: There was a time when the man was expected to provide for his wife and kids and in return, he was treated as the king of the castle. Now, men are often treated more like partners than kings. Moreover, if there's a divorce, men know they may not be treated fairly by the court system. Almost every man knows a guy who has had access to his child used as a bargaining chip, who has to pay Draconian child support payments or who has otherwise been generally treated unfairly because of his gender, not the merits. No man wants to end up as the guy paying a huge chunk of his income to a woman who broke his heart while he wonders if he'll be allowed to have access to his own child.
7) Children have become more of an economic hindrance than a help: There was a time when having children was essentially an insurance policy. If you became disabled or too old to work, your kids took care of you. Today, the government fulfills that role. Additionally, the cost of raising a child has skyrocketed. You'll now have to take $235,000 out of your wallet to raise a kid to 17 -- and that doesn't even include college costs. While a married couple can bear this expense much more easily than a single parent, as a practical matter what it means is that less Americans are having children. If you take away the need to have a partner in raising a child, you've removed one of the biggest reasons for marriage to exist in the first place.
“It’s the fault of Wal-Mart and McDonalds.”
It is their fault!! They created this mess!!
1) Government policies
2) Public schools
“...Not only the programs, but also the commercials..”
Avoid TV - unwatchable for the discerning.
I don’t know why they did it. I’m a single man and wish I could find a woman like that in my age group. Almost to a person they do not value romance and chivalry and expect to be jumped on the first date. I guess I’m odd for a guy, but I find that both distasteful and disgusting.
Well, I wish there were more men like you.
With Obamacare coming, and possibly seeing the prospect of loosing employer health coverage it would possibly be best not to be married.
Since she works part time, she would be able to get fully subsidized coverage from the gov’t and if we have a child, he/she would be covered under her Obamacare policy.
I would just pay the fine for not having any until I need it then sign up.
The prospect of having to pay $25,000/yr for a plan to cover a family would be about 1/3 my take home salary and leave hardly anything else for mortgage/bills/etc...
I can see the divorce rate go way up after Obamacare as people won't be able to afford care and companies drop coverage and pay the “fine”.
"Women's liberation." "Free to Be You and Me." (Remember that one?)
Roe v. Wade.
The world I entered as an adult is a very bleak landscape.
I cringe when I hear a woman refer to her live-in male companion as her "partner" as if it's some bloodless business arrangement.
I walk by an Arthur Murray Dance Studio and wonder if they still have any business.
I remember when ladies wore hats and gloves, and men wore suits and ties, and opened doors for ladies and walked curbside to protect them.
I remember when marriage (man and woman marriage, so sorry I have to define what has been traditional!) was something to cherish and look forward to.
I remember when a date was supposed to end with a kiss under the porch light.
I liked the “incubator” reference; too true.
Welfare was reformed because the breeding of suburban Americans starting resembling that of the permanent urban underclass; now all Americans are subsidizing the “replacement Americans”, not needed for workers so much as students in our classrooms and consumers (not producers) of other “services”.
Nope, I’m different. The different are culled from the herd and (according to conventional wisdom) destroyed. This man, though, won’t go without a fight for right.
6) Popular Music
100% of all divorces started in marriage.
Being told the majority of things I do are wrong (cooking, cleaning, etc) I am at the point of why bother?
The Caucasian male is the butt of most jokes, the imbecile, the bigot, the liar, cheater, drunk, murdering rapist pedophile. We get that treatment on TV, radio, work, and now at home. Is there any wonder why American men are marrying foreign women?
If anything happened to my American wife, I can safely say I would never marry another American.
I have no idea what Logans Run is, however I do know that this country is brain washed to the extent that they are oblivious.
Logans Run—>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4WUUnc1M0TA
Dr. Laura used to tell women to find a guy who’d swim through shark-infested waters to bring them a lemonade.
I love my husband.
He’s put up with me for 37 years.
The man’s a saint.
“...we conservatives need to push back harder...”
It is way too late for push back. We have to lead and it has to be our teens/early twenties who can do it.
I am skeptical - very few can raise their children against this grain. Good luck to all
Post of the day!!!! Mine has put up with me for 35!!!
I've seen many of my friends dumped by their wives when they found boyfriends they considered less boring or more prosperous.
And therein is the problem. After a divorce I was ruined financially for 15 years. I had zero say in any of it. I lived in the "hood" because I couldn't afford better, drove a POS car because I simply couldn't afford better, and if I had the temerity to purchase a newer car my CS payments went up in the equal amount to the loan amount. Almost zero contact with my kids. Zero prospects for a girlfriend since I had no disposable income for things like "dates". Ivy League educated Engineer/Project Manager and I had less than two nickels to rub together
Not that I wouldn't have gotten married again, there were no takers at that time, and a girlfriend would have been grounds to raise the CS even further.
Absolutely correct - I might reverse or adjust the order though.