May 27, 2011

"Married couples have dropped below half of all American households for the first time..."

"... the Census Bureau says, a milestone in the evolution of the American family toward less traditional forms. Married couples represented just 48 percent of American households in 2010.... What is more, just a fifth of households were traditional families — married couples with children — down from about a quarter a decade ago, and from 43 percent in 1950, as the iconic image of the American family continues to break apart."

(NYT link.)

44 comments:

Rialby said...

Lots of blame to go around.

Bob Ellison said...

Winning!

David Smith said...

I would imagine that the NYT is delighted...

RuyDiaz said...

Why do they assume "marriage" is "evolving". Trends don't last forever and something as ephemeral as the marriage rate does not evolve, it either moves in a given direction or it fluctuates.

edutcher said...

And where do all those unmarrieds turn when things get rough?

All together now...

Government!!!

Gene said...

If you pay fatherless teenage girls to bear children so they can go on welfare and get a place of their own, they will.

Have you ever wondered why in black neighborhoods the most common insult is "mutherfucker?"

It's not a metaphorical term. Black boys most often grow up in single parent households headed by their mothers. At some point when the boy is eight or ten or twelve the mother finds a new boyfriend and brings him home.

To the young boy, who is now competing with an older more powerful man for his mother's affections, the intruder is quite literally a motherfucker.

traditionalguy said...

The Churches are failing to do their educational jobs. Marriage to a good wife is a gift from God. But someone needs to tell people that there is a gift to be accepted and protected. As crack says, the cults got the married folks. The #1 result from every cult is the break up of marriage and family.

ET1492 said...

What's the difference between being married and just having sex and living with eachother?

Beorn said...

So straight people are leaving the same building that gays are banging on the door to enter.

paminwi said...

I have to say this statistic makes me sad.

But, I am now in the minority - just celebrated 31 years of marriage on Tuesday! Hasn't always been easy but I wouldn't really change even the hard times - makes me appreciate the good times even more!

MadisonMan said...

Finally! I'm in a minority!

John Lynch said...

It's a giant social science experiment to see if it's possible to have a society without any of the component parts.

fivewheels said...

They should put a "(cough)" in front of a euphemism when they write one -- when they say "evolution" and mean "destruction."

Hey, I'm guilty. I'm single and planning to stay that way. I'm also planning for a comfortable retirement (which is a lot easier without a wife and kids), so no thank you to the big government, edutcher.

Yes, there is plenty of blame to go around. I'll take mine, if the culture that makes me want to stay single takes its share.

Fred4Pres said...

No surprise given 25% of Americans are gay.

Yes, it must be true. It is in a poll. And you mean so-cons are denying them the right to marry.

Michael said...

"What's the difference between being married and just having sex and living with each other?"

None for those who have to ask.

For the married their offspring have fewer tattoos, better educations, better communication skills, better abilities to resolve conflict, better role models of both sexes and a sense of safety greater than those spawn of uncommitted relationships.

BEK477 said...

Ann
We better prepare for a USA run by the Amish. Large families, green energy ( steam-power)run homes and industrious workers. They will rule and we (the non-Amish) will work for them.

In the future there are two groups of Americans: the Amish and those who drive taxis.

Ha. Now what to do with all of the Bernanks funny money.

Sixty Grit said...

Obama does a happy dance in front of a "Mission Accomplished" banner, and we move on to the next symptom of a society circling the drain.

Fred4Pres said...

In the future there are two groups of Americans: the Amish and those who drive taxis.

Don't forget Mormons.

But unfortunately, this group has high fecundity.

Fred4Pres said...

That "group" I noted is definitely not Amish or Mormom. They are a breed apart.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

What's the difference between being married and just having sex and living with each other?

Having sex.

*ducks*

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Seriously, the difference used to be commitment. For many of us, that is still the case. For others, not so much.

n.n said...

There are animals (e.g., birds, simians) which are less fearful of commitment and for all the right reasons. Many elements of the natural order are compatible with the enlightened order.

So, the question remains, to which order are these humans deferring?

Do they believe committing, and deferring, to the collective is always desirable, or is the rejection of marriage done for the same reason as those who denigrate individual dignity when they support progressive involuntary exploitation, in the pursuit of instant gratification?

It must be difficult to commit to another sentient being, when you don't respect their individual dignity.

Carol_Herman said...

And, like in the Cinderella story, where women used to drop like flies. Leaving men to remarry ... and you get to the step-children ...

In lots of the "marriages" counted in today's example ... are "re-marriages." At least to day the first wife doesn't have to drop dead, first.

Jason (the commenter) said...

just a fifth of households were traditional families

Bullshit. Traditional families offer sacrifices to their ancestors, own a family tomb, and keep a holy family fire burning at all times. This has been the core idea of "family" in Western societies for thousands of years. What the NYT is talking about is "the experimental Christian family", a weak, watered-down version of the real thing.

Sara said...

I'm guessing this is hardly anything more than demographic change with a touch of cultural change mixed in. We have a rapidly aging population. That alone will give you many more "childless" couples and widows. We have fewer children, so any given couple lives with children in the household for fewer years. In addition, people marry later and therefore live alone/unmarried longer. This doesn't mean these unmarrieds don't aspire to basically traditional marriage someday. The MSM has a bad reputation for confusing compositional changes in populations with actual changes in individuals' lives. The same problem comes up in many discussions of income inequality.

TJ said...

A single man would be nuts to get married or have children so long as the state reserves the right to destroy his life.

The thing to do is to get a vasectomy and have all the sex you need. Keep your money, your possessions, your time, your sanity.

An even slightly resourceful fellow can get laid as much as he wants and keep his freedom.

Ann Althouse said...

"An even slightly resourceful fellow can get laid as much as he wants and keep his freedom."

And when he's sad or sick or can't perform sexually, no one will care Everybody's a winner.

VanderDouchen said...

Ms. Thouse said "And when he's sad or sick or can't perform sexually, no one will care Everybody's a winner."

BAM. We have a winner.

You are not supposed to win your own threads, Ma'am.

Time rolls on very quickly. It would be a shame, and in my opinion, a wasted life, to not share it with someone. It's tough, it requires the true definition of compromise, but more importantly, it requires a good woman who will not take no for an answer. You chase her until she catches you, then you allow her to never let you go.

A marriage requires a hard headed woman (queue the Cat Stevens).

Sara, I agree that there is a causation argument here. My anecdotal evidence points to the coming generation being more prone to have a commitment to the sanctity of marriage. Purely anecdotal, however.

WV: ertmogic:

She's got a ertmogic. (Queue the ELO).

Wally Kalbacken said...

I'm on my 3rd marriage. I'm doing all I can, cut me some slack!

rhhardin said...

50-50 single and married households is really two married people for every single person heading a household, or 66-33 in realistic terms.

Also they don't consider households with dog.

TJ said...

"And when he's sad or sick or can't perform sexually, no one will care Everybody's a winner"

There is more than one way to skin a cat, a the saying goes. It does not necessarily follow that for a fellow to get laid, it must be a one night stand from some tavern.

One can have a caring relationship without the legal strings of marriage.

A person can plan out how they shall deal with physical desires and the opposite sex, and remain free of the interference of the state like they do any other facet of life.

The high divorce rate provides all sorts of women of all ages that have already been through the mill once; one way to achieve the desired goal is to look at a slightly older model.

There are plenty of those around who want to date and aren't going to demand a wedding ring.

The younger guy gets laid, the older gal gets laid, Everybody's a winner.

Oh. Except the state and the feminists, 'cause they don't get to eff anybody over.

Deirdre Mundy said...

I think the elderly will be the real losers here.

Who takes care of old people? Their families. Who visits? Their grandkids.

So, we'll end up with a mass of old people who have no spouse, no kids, no grandkids, no one. When social order breaks down, the weak and useless are the first to go.....

Milwaukee said...

Ann said And when he's sad or sick or can't perform sexually, no one will care Everybody's a winner.

Did you see the guy who had sat in a chair so long the fabric was fused into his skin? He urinated and defecated in place, and somebody brought him food. When the paramedics came to get him, they had to open a hole in the wall to get him and his chair out of his apartment. Who called the paramedics you ask? His girl friend. Don't you get it? Regardless of how low a man is he can always get a dog and a woman to go lower with him.

Now Ann, you might say, "Ah, I've got Meade, and he uses the toilet." But somewhere one of your sisters is willing to be some poor guy's woman.

The statistic from 30 or 40 years ago was that 90% of women would stay with an alcoholic husband, but only 10% of men would stay with an alcoholic wife.

Milwaukee said...

Maybe the Chinese, without Social Security, are on to something: children to take care of the elderly.

The second largest voting bloc for Obama was single mothers.

Something like 85% of men in prison grew up in households without a father.

This doesn't look like it will end well.

Milwaukee said...

Again, Ann said
And when he's sad or sick or can't perform sexually, no one will care Everybody's a winner.


Awhile back on a thread about misandry, one "gentleman" suggested he would never marry. He has a live in girlfriend for a few years, she starts talking marriage, he starts talking commitment issues. She gets the hint, leaves, and he finds a replacement. My observation is that he will have an easier time finding a replacement than she will in finding a new place to play house.

reformed trucker said...

I'm shocked... shocked I say. What do you expect from a narcissistic society that treats marriage like a contract instead of a covenant? They never could get their little brains around that "till death do us part" portion of the vows.

Which seems to be another reason that some people can't keep their pants up...

Oligonicella said...

Ann Althouse --

"And when he's sad or sick or can't perform sexually, no one will care Everybody's a winner."

Your presumption is a spouse would. Bad presumption.

reformed trucker said...

"And when he's sad or sick or can't perform sexually, no one will care. Everybody's a winner." - AA

Except for society who is robbed of solid examples. My grandfather passed away about 2 years ago from a recurring form of polio; my grandparents were married for 68 years. His health started declining the last 1 1/2 yrs. of his life; shortly before that I remember my grandma chirping about how she thought that once a week was enough, but my grandpa was gunnin' for twice a week. All I could think was it was just wrong that my grandpa got his bean snapped more than I did...

Since my mother has been married 7 times to 6 different men, my grandparents have been a sound example and very influential in my formative years. BTW, April marked 30 years that I've been with my highschool sweetheart.

jimbino said...

Now is the time to take the married and breeders off the nanny tit and make them pay full fare for their folly and families.

Fully half my property taxes go to pay for the miseducation of the brood of the breeders. They don't pay for my diversions, they lead less happy lives, and they pollute the world.

There is no problem, from global warming to disappearance of species, that wouldn't be solved by putting an end to marriage and breeding.

ZorroPrimo said...

No fault divorce.
The presumption of paternity.
Alimony.

Fluctuation and evolution, my butt. If the marital contract isn't redrafted to remove the insanity, fewer than 20% of households will be married in less than 30 years. If that.

Jason (the commenter) said...

Ann Althouse: And when he's sad or sick or can't perform sexually, no one will care Everybody's a winner.

Yes, who will ship these people off to an old-person's home where they can be neglected until they die?

Chris said...

The mere fact that people are living longer accounts for most of this statistical "change", I suspect. Obviously having lots more old people with no kids in the house (plus perhaps a deceased spouse) would account for more than the moral changes that most of the blame.

ic said...

Some reasons:
Women are afraid to be full time housewives taking care of children and home and seeing husbands left them for younger wives and new families.

A woman CEO does not marry her young male secretary.

A man's young wife is a trophy wife, a woman's young husband is boy toy.

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