I’ve seen lots of figures bandied about on the issue of the institution of marriage these days. I’ve discovered a study on marriage that appears to have the most extensive data I’ve seen anywhere. The primary conclusion: marriage is continuing to decline in the United States. The secondary conclusion: so is divorce (fewer marriages means fewer divorces). Another result: many worrisome societal trends. It turns out the Proclamation on the Family was right after all.
The National Marriage Project, which is a nonpartisan group run by Rutgers University in New Jersey, concludes that marriage has many surprising benefits for individuals and societies. In addition, the study notes that co-habitation (living together without getting married) is increasing. More and more kids are being raised without two parents, which is relatively unhealthy for them, and the clear cause is an increase in divorce, out-of-wedlock births and unmarried cohabitation.
Here’s where I quote the Proclamation on the Family: “We warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets. We call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.”
And further: “The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity.”
NOTE: USA Today has a good study on the 2005 report on marriage, which is not out yet on the web site. The decline of marriage in the United States continues in the 2005 report.