Divorce, Marriage Decline; Living Together More Common
A report based on US census figures by the National Marriage Project has found that divorces have fallen from 22 in 1,000 married women in 1980 to 10 per 1,000 in 2004 -- a drop of more than half in 25 years. However, marriage rates have also fallen, from 77 out of 1,000 single women in 1976 to 40 per 1,000 in 2004. Meanwhile, 5 million opposite-sex couples are now estimated to be living together out of wedlock.
Family experts worry about the fate of children of unmarried couples who separate, as they are less likely to have legal protections than children of married couples who divorce. One upside of the lower marriage rates may be that those who choose to marry are happier in their relationships; the number of married couples who say they are "very happy" is up for the first time in 25 years.
Source: AP (Newsday)