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Marriage in America
July 20, 2011 4:53 PM   Subscribe

Divorce rates are higher than ever? Think again. A large majority—92%—of children whose families make more than $75,000 a year live with two parents (including step-parents). At the bottom of the income scale—families earning less than $15,000—only 20% of children live with two parents. Of those who first tied the knot between 1975 and 1979, 29% were divorced within ten years. Among those who first married between 1990 and 1994, only 16.5% were.
posted by lohmannn (40 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
A large majority—92%—of children whose families make more than $75,000 a year live with two parents (including step-parents)

Doesn't this imply that there was a divorce at some point? Or do they count those living with step-parents as those adults' first marriage-- i.e. the child's bio parents were never married. Curious.
posted by greta simone at 5:01 PM on July 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


So if we up welfare to the $75,000+ range do you think it will help reduce divorce rates?
posted by notreally at 5:03 PM on July 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


Divorce rates are higher than ever? If we exclude a huge number of families by limiting the sample to those who make over $75,000 a year, think again.
posted by massysett at 5:05 PM on July 20, 2011 [5 favorites]


And it is impossible in America for two full-time, year-round workers to earn less than $15,000 between them, unless they are (illegally) paid less than the minimum wage.

Well, $15,000. Then everything is A OK [/sarcasm].

The minimum wage is $3.5 an hour? That's insane.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:06 PM on July 20, 2011


And it is impossible in America for two full-time, year-round workers to earn less than $15,000 between them...

Yeah...see...it's that "full-time, year-round" part that bites a lot of people in the ass.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:10 PM on July 20, 2011 [9 favorites]


Well, at least you're still keeping track. Up here in Canada we've decided to save $250,000 a year by throwing in the towel on divorce statistics.
posted by The Card Cheat at 5:10 PM on July 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


But she does not see why, for example, the government's only contact with an unmarried father should be to demand that he pay child support. By not even mentioning marriage, the state is implying that no one expects him to stick around. Is that a helpful message?

The only person that can reasonably expect him to 'stick around' is the other party in the relationship.

The 'message' delivered by the state is completely irrelevant. The state shouldn't decide how people should live their love lives.

IMO, if you need a binding, documented agreement (marriage) to ensure that your partner stays with you, than you already have a problem. A marriage should be a celebration of your relationship, not a freaking contractual obligation.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:11 PM on July 20, 2011 [5 favorites]


it is impossible in America for two full-time, year-round workers to earn less than $15,000 between them

If they work full-time for the whole year, which is to say if they're never laid off or between jobs, and they always get forty hours a week. And if their wages aren't being garnished for child support or back taxes or any of a bunch of other things. And if it's not a 'training wage,' and if the employer isn't taking money out for uniforms or some damn thing. And... yeah, I've got some minor quibbles with that assertion.
posted by box at 5:12 PM on July 20, 2011 [6 favorites]


"We both know that neither one of us could afford to own a home without a second income so we're determined to make this shit work even if it means eating and sleeping in different rooms while waiting for the other to die in a fire. If we didn't have anything I'd be gone in a hot minute."
posted by The Hamms Bear at 5:13 PM on July 20, 2011 [4 favorites]




"We both know that neither one of us could afford to own a home without a second income so we're determined to make this shit work even if it means eating and sleeping in different rooms while waiting for the other to die in a fire. If we didn't have anything I'd be gone in a hot minute."

I just love that you wrote your own vows.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:15 PM on July 20, 2011 [28 favorites]


The article is dated May 24th 2007.
posted by vidur at 5:23 PM on July 20, 2011 [4 favorites]


Man, the Boomers just keep sucking.
posted by valkyryn at 5:23 PM on July 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


Married men drink less, take fewer drugs and work harder

Damn. 0 for 3.
posted by cjets at 5:23 PM on July 20, 2011 [8 favorites]


families earning less than $15,000—only 20% of children live with two parents.

Approximately how much do inmates earn?
posted by ODiV at 5:31 PM on July 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, note that by "work harder" they actually mean "earn more money", which doesn't seem synonymous at all to me.
posted by baf at 5:32 PM on July 20, 2011 [4 favorites]


Married men drink less, take fewer drugs and work harder

hahahahahaha, SUCKERS!
posted by LordSludge at 6:06 PM on July 20, 2011 [7 favorites]


Declining divorce is a direct result, or an extension of the trend to over parent kids. We are so far into "It's all about the kids!!!!" that divorce is not seen as an option for most families. You will se rats normalize at the same time you see kids wandering neighbourhoods playing kick the can until dusk and walking themselves to school. I believe over parenting will prove as idiotic as the surging divorce rates in the seventies.

In our circle of close friends, I can count two couples that have divorced, that seems extraordinarily small considering most of us have been married more than ten years and some approaching twenty.
posted by Keith Talent at 6:28 PM on July 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Does this mean that we can start railing against the baby boomers for the implicit immorality of their generation?

Because the irony of that is going to be delicious.
posted by schmod at 6:30 PM on July 20, 2011 [1 favorite]




His thoughts were red thoughts: IMO, if you need a binding, documented agreement (marriage) to ensure that your partner stays with you, than you already have a problem.

I think it's entirely reasonable to want a binding documented agreement to make sure that if my partner and I split up, it's going to take some work and my partner can't just take off on a whim and leave me with whatever circumstance s/he can't deal with. Same reason there's a difference between shacking up when only one of you or when both of you are on the lease.
posted by rmd1023 at 6:33 PM on July 20, 2011 [4 favorites]


There's some weird stuff in those graphs, but thanks for posting the link, Unicorn on the cob. For example, why is Idaho an outlier for median age at first marriage, for men? More generally, I haven't yet seen a good visualization that can convey geographic location, social information, marriage date and length of marriage. It's too many dimensions, and I can easily see how, if you pick just two or three or four to grind your axe, you can grind it keenly no matter what you intend to hit with it.
posted by spacewrench at 6:41 PM on July 20, 2011


I think it's entirely reasonable to want a binding documented agreement to make sure that if my partner and I split up, it's going to take some work and my partner can't just take off on a whim and leave me with whatever circumstance s/he can't deal with. Same reason there's a difference between shacking up when only one of you or when both of you are on the lease.

Certainly. My opinion is that just that; mine. YMMV.

Your view is completely reasonable; anyone entering into a relationship with you wouldn't blink an eye, I would think.

My question to you is, would you want the state to require the agreement, or to impose its expectation on your relationship. Because that is the implication in the article, and that is what I object to.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:50 PM on July 20, 2011


The article is dated May 24th 2007.

Don't worry. 2007 was an excellent year for data collection.
posted by WaspEnterprises at 7:08 PM on July 20, 2011 [4 favorites]


His thoughts were red thoughts: Hm. I'm not seeing the suggestion of requirement, really. But I'm okay with the government expecting that agreement for people who want to take advantage of the benefits that marriage confers. It's a trade-off.
posted by rmd1023 at 8:21 PM on July 20, 2011


They probably need to rent a property.
posted by unliteral at 8:35 PM on July 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Divorce sucks and hurts children. surprise surprise.
posted by cyberdad at 8:40 PM on July 20, 2011


65% of college graduates under 26 who married in the 1980s, were still married 20 years later.

Married in '89, haven't divorced or murdered* my partner yet. Guess I'm right on track.

*Does anyone keep statistics on suspicious deaths in this group?

What?

I was just wondering.

Really! You guys are so suspicious!

posted by misha at 8:55 PM on July 20, 2011


Well, $15,000. Then everything is A OK [/sarcasm].

The minimum wage is $3.5 an hour? That's insane.


$15000 a year is $7.50 an hour, working a 40 hour week for fifty weeks a year.
posted by misha at 9:00 PM on July 20, 2011


I'm bothered by this part of it:
A large majority—92%—of children whose families make more than $75,000 a year live with two parents (including step-parents).

...because that's essentially tautological: to a first approximation, I'd guess that (very roughly) "92% of families who make more than $75,000 a year" require TWO full-time wage-earners to get there.

So of course nearly all of the high-earning families have two parents present: relatively few jobs pay that well.
posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 9:18 PM on July 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


$15000 a year is $7.50 an hour, working a 40 hour week for fifty weeks a year.

The quote was "And it is impossible in America for two full-time, year-round workers to earn less than $15,000 between them, unless they are (illegally) paid less than the minimum wage."

So $15,000 in total, from the wages of 2 people.

And I assumed 48 weeks, rather than 50 (4 weeks leave). Plus I was speaking a little inaccurately.

But let's assume 50 weeks, at 40 hours a week. $15,000/(2*50*40) = $3.75/hour.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 9:54 PM on July 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


The easy approximation for annual wage from hourly pay is to multiply it by 2000 (50 weeks * 40 hours.)

Of course that's gross pay before taxes and other deductions, but still.
posted by msalt at 12:51 AM on July 21, 2011


Does this mean that we can start railing against the baby boomers for the implicit immorality of their generation?

You're only just starting? Man, I've been on that tear for half a decade now.
posted by valkyryn at 3:35 AM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


IMO, if you need a binding, documented agreement (marriage) to ensure that your partner stays with you, than you already have a problem. A marriage should be a celebration of your relationship, not a freaking contractual obligation.

I thought marriage was just a binding, documented agreement that grants you certain benefits, rights and obligations.

I thought the celebrate-your-relationship-or-whatever part of marriage was getting married through your church, which has no legal standing whatsoever. Can you get married in a church without getting legally married in the US? I'm pretty sure it's doable where i'm from.
Or, you know, just being happy that you're in a relationship with someone without needing external validation...
posted by palbo at 5:34 AM on July 21, 2011


I thought marriage was just a binding, documented agreement that grants you certain benefits, rights and obligations.

Yes, it is. But I was responding to this quote, in a section that was about whether governments should 'support' marriage:

"But she [a government official in charge of of a marriage support program] does not see why, for example, the government's only contact with an unmarried father should be to demand that he pay child support. By not even mentioning marriage, the state is implying that no one expects him to stick around. Is that a helpful message?"

The proposition that the state should be in the position to impose its 'expectations' on relationships is offensive to me. But it's the 'helpful message' bit that gets to me. It's patronising - i.e., the state is of the view that the only way you, as an individual, will make a commitment to another person is if you are contractually obliged.

If the only reason you are staying with a person is because you are married, and not because you feel some love and affection for them, then, IMO, that's a bad situation for everyone.

I don't expect anyone else to share my annoyance, and I'm not trying to convince anyone.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:14 AM on July 21, 2011


The proposition that the state should be in the position to impose its 'expectations' on relationships is offensive to me. But it's the 'helpful message' bit that gets to me. It's patronising - i.e., the state is of the view that the only way you, as an individual, will make a commitment to another person is if you are contractually obliged.

Ah, most definitely, i've had discussions with friends before about this in the context of gay marriage, where goverment is giving benefits to married couples because, in theory, it sees that having people married benefits society as a whole, and the assumptions made originally may or may not apply in the case of gay people getting married. So i'd like to see more discussion on how marriage is good for society nowadays and look again at what benefits should be given to people getting married.

It seems to me a lot of people marry mostly for the things that would be better served by flexible civil unions, but i don't really have all the details of the benefits of marrying in different places in the US (or worldwide).
posted by palbo at 7:45 AM on July 21, 2011


I remember reading this article when it came out, several years ago. I also remember posting it to MetaFilter.
posted by chunking express at 9:41 AM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's also funny seeing what people get bent out of shape about 4 years later.
posted by chunking express at 9:42 AM on July 21, 2011


What I like most about the wedding thing is the contractual obligement. It only really hit me when I attended on last week. I want to get married now.
posted by mygodimissyou at 7:41 PM on July 21, 2011


This WSJ article is a much better place to start for talking about divorce rates going down. But it's behind a paywall. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303544604576430341393583056.html
posted by fusinski at 8:59 AM on July 25, 2011


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