Item from the Smart Marriages Archive, reproduced in the Divorce Statistics Collection

January 7, 1999

Marrieds remain majority

But percentage continues to decline

Thursday, January 7, 1999

WASHINGTON (AP) - Despite all those partying singles and unwed parents on television, the
typical American adult is still married and living with his or her spouse.

Some 110.6 million Americans aged 18 and over were married and living with one another last
year, the Census Bureau reports. That's 56 percent of the adult population.

True, it's a share that's been declining for years, but marrieds are still the majority.

The percentage of married adults has been fading "because of the increase in the never married
and divorced population," said Census population expert Terry A. Lugaila. In 1970, 68.4
percent of adults lived as married couples, she noted.

But the decline had slowed, she said in a telephone interview, with most of the decrease having
occurred in the 1970s and 1980s when the divorce rate was rising and many young adults were
postponing marriage to pursue education and careers.

Indeed, some of that delay in marriage may even have eased a bit.

The new report shows the median age for men at first marriage last year was 26.7, down from
26.8 a year earlier and a peak of 27.1 in 1976.

For women it held steady at 25.0, still the highest median age for first marriage. Median means
half were older and half younger.

Lugaila said the annual report, "Marital Status and Living Arrangements: March 1998," shows a
continuation of trends that have been evident for years with no surprises.

Other findings of the report included:

There were 1,348,000 interracial married couples in 1998. That's up from 1,264,000 a year
earlier but still short of the record 1,392,000 interracial couples reported in 1995.

Some 19.4 million adults are currently divorced, representing 9.8 percent of the population.

There are 14 million people between 25 and 34 years old who have never been married, about 35
percent of this age group. Of blacks in this age group, 53 percent had never been married.

Forty-five percent of women 65 years old and over were widowed. Of the elderly widows, 7 in
10 lived alone.

About 20 million children under 18 years of age in the United States lived with just one parent,
representing 28 percent of children. The majority, 84 percent, lived with their mother.

About 4 million children, nearly 6 percent of all children under 18, lived in the household of their

Marriage Loses Some Sparkle In United States

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Just over half of U.S. adults were married and living with their
spouses last year, according to a report released Thursday that shows a huge drop in the marriage
rate over the past three decades.

The Commerce Department's Census Bureau said about 56 percent of all American adults were
married and living with their partners in 1998, down from 68 percent in 1970, 62 percent in
1980 and 59 percent in 1990.

``The number of married adults has gone down since the 1970s due to a rise in divorce and the
number of people who have never been married,'' said Terry Lugaila, a statistician from the
Census Bureau, adding that the drop had tapered off in recent years.

Her report, ``Marital Status and Living Arrangements,'' also found that 10 percent of U.S.
adults were ``currently divorced'' in 1998 against 3.2 percent in 1970 and 8.3 percent in 1990.

Among 25 and 34-year-olds, about 35 percent had never been married. Among
African-Americans in this age group, 53 percent had never tied the knot.

The report said about 28 percent of all children lived with just one parent, a huge rise from 1970
when just 12 percent were raised by single parents. In 1990 this figure reached 24 percent.

The majority of children living with one parent were with their mother (84 percent). No other
adults were present in the household for 56 percent of children living with one parent.

About four million children -- nearly six percent of the population under the age of 18 -- lived
with their grandparents.

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