State of U.S. Marriage

Although several measures of the health of marriage in the United States have declined sharply since 1970, there are some signs of improvement this decade, according to a new “marriage index.” The index, released on Oct. 2 and produced by the New York-based Institute for American Values and the National Center on African-American Marriages and Parenting at Hampton University in Virginia, assesses the strength of marriage by using five indicators: the percentage of people ages 20 to 54 who are married; the percentage of married adults who describe themselves as “very happy” in their marriages; the percentage of intact first marriages among married people ages 20 to 59; the percentage of births to married parents; and the percentage of children living with their own married parents. The combined score for the five “leading marriage indicators” dropped from 76.2 percent in 1970 to 60.3 percent in 2008, according to the index. But since 2000 there have been small gains in the percentage of intact first marriages (from 59.9 percent to 61.2 percent) and the percentage of children living with married parents (60.5 percent to 61 percent).

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

Pope Francis, in Milan on March 25, sought to strengthen their faith and to address the dissatisfaction among young people and families due to economic difficulties, which creates fertile soil for populist movements.
Gerard O'ConnellMarch 25, 2017
Pope Francis said opportunity can come by restoring “the pillars” on which the union was first founded.
Gerard O'ConnellMarch 24, 2017
Some of the tensions still troubling Liberian life have deep social and historical roots.
Kevin ClarkeMarch 24, 2017
“This bill is catastrophic for Catholic social teaching and particularly for the people who we’re called to serve,” Sister Carol Keehan said.
Michael O'LoughlinMarch 24, 2017