The Changing Face of Marriage

Authored by: Marsha Garrison

Routledge Handbook of Family Law and Policy

Print publication date:  July  2020
Online publication date:  July  2020

Print ISBN: 9780367195526
eBook ISBN: 9781003058519
Adobe ISBN:


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Across the industrialized world, young adults are marrying later and increasing numbers may not marry at all. 1 In the United States, which has long had one of the highest marriage rates among industrialized nations, barely 50 percent of American adults are now married – a record low. 2 This general statistic actually masks some portion of the trend away from marriage as rising male life expectancy has significantly increased the proportion of older Americans who are married. 3 In younger age cohorts, marriage has declined precipitously. In 2018, the proportion of U.S. adults age 18–34 who were married was a mere 28 percent, down from 59 percent in 1972. 4 Although marriage has declined in some regions more than others, the trend away from marriage seems to be universal. One expert has predicted that, by 2035, half of the Japanese population will be single and as many as a third of Japanese men will never have married. 5 (See further Chapter 2.4 of this book.)

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