6:30 am September 29, 2010, by Henry Unger
The recession has changed many lives in expected and unexpected ways — from prematurely ending careers, to postponing retirement, to smaller things like going longer between dry-cleaning or hair-salon trips.
Now, new Census data says a long-term decline in marriage accelerated during the Great Recession, with more couples postponing marriage and often choosing to cohabit without tying the knot, the New York Times reports.
The nation crossed an important marital threshold in 2009, with the number of young adults who have never married surpassing — for the first time in more than a century — the number who were married, the NYT says.
“People are unsure about their job security, and a lot of people lost their jobs,” Mark Mather of the Population Reference Bureau, told the Times. “Getting married is obviously a big step and if you’re not comfortable about your future, it makes sense that you’d postpone a big decision like this.”
Will McElroy, 26, of Atlanta, has been dating his girlfriend, Ann, for three years, the NYT writes. They have discussed marriage, but he lost his job as a computer programmer this year and is now more focused on looking for work than planning for the future.
“Yeah, it definitely takes money to get married,” he said.
Among the total population 18 and older, the share of men and women who were married fell from 57 percent in 2000 to 52 percent in 2009 — the lowest percentage since the government began collecting data more than 100 years ago, the NYT reports. The share of adult women who were married fell below half, to 49.9 percent.
Has the economy affected your decision to tie the knot? How?
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