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A famous saying goes, "the only thing that remains constant over time is change". I couldn't agree more, but what makes me wonder is the way the things have changed over the last few decades and whether the change is for good or the worse. During the 1950s, it was normal to be normal and then there was a time when being normal was boring and now, being normal seems a little abnormal…
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Download file to see previous pages To be more precise and clear, a few statistical data can be taken into consideration. Over the last five decades, cohabiting couples in the United States have increased tenfold from 0.44 million to 4.2 million. Divorce rates have increased from 9 to 20 per 1000 married couples for the same period. Births to unmarried women have increased from 11% to 38% from 1970 to 2006. Nationally, more than 1.3 million children are born out of wedlock each year. While cohabitation, divorce and unmarried childbearing have increased, marriage in America has alarmingly declined over the last few decades. Married couples with children are one quarters of the total number of households and half of what was in 1960. Some are of the opinion that only the well educated and the well paid are interested in the institution of marriage. It has been observed that marriage not only declined less among the well educated and well paid, but also that they are less likely to divorce. Though college educated women initially prefer to live with a partner, they eventually do get married. However, it is worth noting that the constant increase in the number of people attaining college degree from 16.60 million to 88.75 million from 1950s to 1990s has not helped much in improving the statistics related to marriage. So, education is not the sole reason for the changes that are taking place. The increase in the well educated may not have made a direct impact, but indirectly, it has changed various other aspects of life. It has caused a gradual shift in people's priority from religion to science and technology. In the 1950s and 60s, religion played a vital role in keeping the count of cohabitation and unmarried childbearing low. But with the priority shifting, the emphasis is more on career and wealth maximization. Well educated men and women are less likely to marry those who are less educated. This has largely resulted in growth of income inequality. Before 1970, there was a broad based economic prosperity which has gradually vanished. (
Apart from the economic dimension, some look at the same issue with the racial dimension in mind. Childbearing out of wedlock seemed to be more among the black people than the white. However, statistics in the recent past have shown that there has been a drastic decline in such births among the black teenagers (86% to 35% per 1000) as compared to the whites (24% to 12% per 1000). Hence, class based analysis seems to be a better tool. (
The question still lingers around as to what made the biggest impact, what is the reason for the way things are today. It is a well accepted fact that the present day situation is nothing but an outcome of the past. The number of marriages in the past may have been on the higher side, but there is no reliable statistical information on how many marriages out of those were actually doing well. People, who have spent their childhood in the shadow of a troubled marriage, most of the times, develop a fear towards getting into a serious relationship. Young people who have lived most of their lives in poverty would be of the opinion that marriage is not a commodity they can afford. Therefore, negative aspects in the past have made a negative impact now in ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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