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The marriage rate in the United States in 2018 dropped to the lowest level ever measured, according to government data released Wednesday.
The National Center for Health Statistics reported that the marriage rate fell by 6% to roughly 6.5 marriages per 1,000 people, the lowest rate since the government began measuring the stat in 1867.
“Millennials are in peak marriage years, their 20s and 30s, and it’s still dropping,” NCHS statistician Sally Curtin, the lead author of the report, told The Wall Street Journal. “This is historic.”
Marriage rates plummeted in the early 1930s around the start of the Great Depression, sinking to a then-record low of 7.9 marriages per 1,000 people in 1932. Over time, the marriage rate more than doubled to an all-time high of 16.4 in 1946, the year after the end of World War II.
The marriage rate dropped to 8.4 in 1958, then recovered and fluctuated in the 9-10 range from 1964-1994. Marriage rates started a steady decline in 1994 that led to the record low in 2018. Curtin did not venture a reason as to why U.S. marriage rates have declined.
The Wall Street Journal offered several causes for the decline:
“Many Americans are opting to form households without tying the knot, and strained finances have been a top reason. In recent years, much of the marriage decline has come for middle earners and those with only a high-school education. Declining religious adherence and growing acceptance of unmarried cohabitation have also played a role.”
Americans’ finances are under a historic level of strain amid the outbreak of the coronavirus. New date released by the Department of Labor on Thursday showed that about 30 million Americans have filed unemployment claims since mid-March when state governors began shutting down wide swaths of the U.S. economy to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
As The Daily Wire reported:
“The news wasn’t all bad. While the number was slightly higher than the 3.5 million economists surveyed by Dow Jones expected, the number was far lower than the record 6.8 million for the week of March 28. The latest number was also lower than the previous week, which came in at 4.4 million. Still, one in six American workers is now unemployed.”
The Department of Labor data showed that 12.4% of U.S. workers are receiving unemployment insurance that Congress recently increased by $600 a month. The extra unemployment cash, meant to cushion millions of Americans who have been forced out of jobs because of the coronavirus, has had the unintended consequence of luring workers out of the workforce for extra money or keeping workers from returning to jobs supported by federal loans.
A Marist College poll released on Wednesday showed that roughly half of American households have been impacted by the coronavirus. Half of U.S. adults surveyed reported that either they or someone in their household has lost a job or income due to the coronavirus.
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