Between 1970 and 2000 marriage rates in the United States saw a slight decline – falling from 2.5m to 2m a year – whilst, barring a brief peak in 1980, divorce rates have remained consistently around 1m. The amount of marriages, despite the recent fall, therefore remained twice as high as that of divorce.

The most common marital status throughout this time was ‘married’, but as with the number of marriages this too is becoming less popular: in 1970 70% of the population was in this group, but 30 years later it was a little under 60%. That 10% drop-off coincided with a rise in those choosing to never marry (up from 15% to 20%) and in the divorced, which had overtaken widows to become the third most common group and accounted for nearly 10% of the total. These numbers were, of course, still far below those who were married, but should such trends continue the population could see more unmarried people (never married, divorced, widowed) than married by the year 2030.


172 words, 15 minutes
Writer: native speaker (UK), English trainer