Catastrophic Marriage Decline

Dalrock has an article up on the recent rise in never-married women. I decided to a look at more extended data and reformat the axes to make it easier to interpret. I’ve made use of U.S. Census data from Marital and Living Arrangements reports. Because the Census is a population-wide study, the standard error is almost zero.

First up is the massive decline in marriage rates through the years. The data goes back to 1960, and looks at all women in the United States.

marriageyears

Note how the green line is significantly higher than the purple and light blue lines, and how this pattern continues with the yellow, orange, and dark blue lines. From the 70s onwards, there has been a colossal rise in the percent of women in their 20s who have never married. This has started extending to women in their 30s.

The picture becomes even clearer when the statistics by cohort (i.e. birth year) are examined. I used data from the 2012, 2007, 2002, 1997, and 1992 censuses for this.

marriagecohorts

As can be seen, subsequent generations are delaying marriage more than their predecessors. Note that about a fifth of Gen-Xers delayed marriage till their early 30s, but many of them were able to get married by their late 30s, leaving only ~10% never married (purple and light blue lines). However, this changed with the most recent Gen Xers. Only a small portion of them were able to get married before hitting the wall, as can be seen by the green line. I’ve decided to call this the “Kate Bolick Effect”. Quite simply, the women in their early 30s are finding themselves competing against the growing group of single women in their late 20s. Given a choice, men will inevitably choose the latter.

Notice the tip of the orange line. Almost half of women in their late 20s today are single, and I expect that they will push aside the women in the yellow line, resulting in about a quarter of women being never married. It is as yet impossible to determine where this process will reach equilibrium, but the current data doesn’t look good.

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24 thoughts on “Catastrophic Marriage Decline

  1. JustYX says:

    Interesting post.

    Looking at the top graph it seems that in 1970 around 1 in 12 women were getting into the age bracket of 35-39 never married. In 2010 it looks like 1 in 5. It’s clear which direction that this is heading as well. Your guess at 1 in 4 looks pretty reasonable. I can’t think of any factors that might cause a reversal of this trend (this side of the collapse of the social security system).

    According to the Dalrock post that you linked to, it appears that marriage pretty much stops at age 35. The actual realisation of this wasn’t in the original post, but in the comments. Here is where Dalrock responds to someone else’s pointing out what the numbers infer.
    http://dalrock.wordpress.com/2012/11/24/more-grim-news-for-carousellers-hoping-to-jump-at-the-last-minute/#comment-62362

    @Ybm

    Did you notice that in 2007 a 35-39 year old never married was at 11.4% while in 2012 the 40-45 year old never married was 11.3%?

    Great catch. So few of the women in that cohort married in the five year interval that the percent never married only dropped by .1%. This is no doubt within the accuracy of the sampling they are using. Interestingly this puts a short term cap on the upward early 40s trend for the next two years until we start looking at the late thirties group observed at 13.3% in 2010 when they come out the other side in their early 40s in 2015.

    Edit: The same is true for the 2007 40-44 year old group which started out at 9.1% and came out the other side in the 45-19 group in 2012 at 9.0%.

    This would be seen on your graph as the 2010 blue line turning horizontal if the graph were extended right by 5 years to cover 40-44

    • intjguy says:

      Ah yes you’re right. I didn’t include the 40-44 and on-wards data because it is past the wall, and looking at the data for all the cohorts, there has never been a time when any significant number of women have gotten married so late.

      What is interesting though is that this flattening out is now extending to the early 30s as the Kate Bolick Effect starts to take hold.

      • JustYX says:

        like that name BTW – nice one.

        So one might say that the marriage market is bolicked?
        (don’t know if you guys use ‘bollocksed’ as a term for something screwed up. Praire Oysters = Bollocks.)

      • JustYX says:

        Via a post at JudgyBitch (I recommend her to men and women alike)
        http://judgybitch.com/2013/04/28/yoo-hoo-hey-all-you-career-ladies-with-no-time-for-a-husband-and-all-you-single-mamas-and-all-you-older-ladies-hitting-the-wall-i-have-the-solution-to-all-your-man-hunting-woes/

        she provides a link to ‘Dating and mating for over-35s’
        http://observer.guardian.co.uk/sex/story/0,,1051274,00.html

        in which we find:

        Government projections suggest half of British women aged between 30 and 44 will never have been married by 2021, compared to 13 per cent in 1981.

        wow! 13% to 50% in 40 years. Clearly cohabiting is an increasing phenomenon over in the UK, but that’s not ‘the dream’ exactly, is it? Although, considering cohabitation as marriage after some years together is an emerging trend in anglosphere countries. Coming soon to a kleptocracy near you? Best check, guys. With public finances getting tight, of course they are going to be looking for alternative funding strategies for the support of the patriarchally opressed, viz your wallet..

        The author has a few grrreat ideas for finding a partner (that she arrived at via her bidness degree)

        Greenwald’s tactics include telemarketing, or ringing everyone in your address book to ask if they know of any potential partners. She also advocates ‘auditing’ and conducting ‘exit interviews’ – getting a third party to contact unsuccessful dates for feedback. She insists that around 70 per cent of men, if asked, will be candid.

        candid? you want it? you got it, baby.
        What’s that smell? Can anyone else smell desperation? If there’s any smell that has men running for the hills faster than desperation, I haven’t heard of it. Catching a guy’s eye with an inviting glance is a great skill for a woman to have, stalking is not.

        and there’s more candiddling

        The figures she quotes tell a grim story. In America today there are 18 million single men over 35 – but 28 million single woman in that age bracket. She rapidly dispels the last lingering sense of romance from the room. ‘This book is not about the fairy tale. It is the realisation of being a woman and single and taking matters into your own hands.’

        If you add in the Bolick Effect, that marriage stops at 35 (in the US), then you see the size of the issue facing them. Sadly, it seems that having it all can be tricky if you leave marriage that late.

        And she is talking to the UMC and up, don’t forget. The fees that she charges are high. She’s describing the reality of the well heeled, not the inner city.

      • HanSolo says:

        JustYX, the link to the guardian story is broken though I’m able to get it from the JudgyBitch site.

        Anyway, it mentions

        The figures she quotes tell a grim story. In America today there are 18 million single men over 35 – but 28 million single woman in that age bracket.

        This is somewhat misleading perhaps? Since men die younger than women it is likely including a lot of old women, say 70+.

      • JustYX says:

        I can’t believe that a national newspaper has made a cock-up… :)

        I don’t know what the numbers ‘should be’. Has someone forgotten to mention an upper age limit to the described population? Are there only 63 million single people over 35 in the States? And do they mean ‘never married’, or ‘never married or divorced as many times as they married’?

  2. JustYX says:

    The big question, that probably can’t be answered from these numbers, is why is this happening?

    We hear that women are delaying marriage for career and exploring themselves* – okay, plausible. (sorry for the lack of references, but) I recently read that in surveys women are increasingly regarding marriage as an important part of life, but men are heading in the opposite direction on this issue. It might be that male attitudes are also going to limit marriage as well, even as women change their priorities.

    When women’s minds turn to marriage (late twenties – late thirties?), do men become the limiting factor on marriage? Leading to so many voices bleating, “Where have all the good men gone?”. Having got to his thirties unmarried, now has some money coming in, can enjoy himself living single. Seen what happens to men in divorce. Do many men just decide that the marriage thing isn’t the way to go?

    Are we witnessing a growing, perfect storm of ‘delaying’ meets ‘too late’?

    I’m only asking from a general interest in the issue as I do not believe that many men should be getting married under such hostile legal conditions, even if they meet an extremely special someone who ‘right here, right now’ loves them. Getting from the ‘right here, right now’ to ’till death do us part’ is pretty tricky according to the stats and I see no reason to expect the rates to improve.

    *I don’t see this as unreasonable at all on a human level. However, those taking this path should bear in mind that other people get to have opinions on whether to marry them at the other end of their journey of self discovery.

    All the ‘man up and marry them‘ stuff is shaming aimed at letting women have their cake and eat it. ‘Where have all the good men gone?’ is women complaining that the deal that was sold to them isn’t delivering the Mills and Boon romantic marriage when they’re good and ready…what’s up with that?

    MGTOW is about saying, “I don’t like the deal, I’m not interested in buying those goods (though I may borrow / rent), I’m off – best of luck with that”.

    Feminists, and very many women in general it seems, never get the fact that men have their choices to make too, and that making women happy need not be any priority at all to them. It should certainly be no higher priority than women put on men’s happiness…yeah, as low as that. Let the equality commence.

    Sucks for society, but really maybe society needs to improve the offer made to men, not just expect men to throw themselves under the bus so that women need not suffer any inconvenience.

    • JustYX says:

      Mills and Boon – emo porn for women. Bodice Rippers, Barbara Cartland and her ilk. Or Jack Nicholson’s character from ‘As good as it gets’ come to think of it…(at least he was funny about how he wrote the characters)

      http://www.millsandboon.co.uk

      current top ten

      1 A Price Worth Paying? Trish Morey
      2 A Rich Man’s Whim Lynne Graham
      3 The Secret Casella Baby Cathy Williams
      4 Strictly Temporary Robyn Grady
      5 Maid for Montero Kim Lawrence
      6 Heir to a Dark Inheritanc… Maisey Yates

      7 Captive in his Castle Chantelle Shaw
      8 Her Deal with the Devil Nicola Marsh
      9 The One That Got Away Kelly Hunter

      10 The Scarred Earl Elizabeth Beacon

      honourable mention for:
      The Cost of her Innocence Jacqueline Baird
      Lord of the Beasts SUSAN KRINARD
      Her Wicked Wolf KENDRA LEIGH CASTLE

    • intjguy says:

      I definitely think we’re meeting a perfect storm of delaying meets “too late”.

      We’re seeing women being too picky or too busy finding themselves or establishing their career (or for some empowered women, riding the carousel) to make use of their high SMV and settle down. Then when they enter their early 30s and finally decide to settle down the men their age are at the peak of their SMV and going “are you kidding?”

      The data cannot provide direct causal evidence, but it is definitely highly suggestive of the above phenomenon. I’ll be discussing that in my next post.

  3. Ted D says:

    Ya know what I find interesting and sad about all this? How many of the regular male comment in the ‘sphere are from seemingly happily married men advising young men NOT to marry? If there is ANYTHING that should scare women to death, it should be the fact that EVEN MEN WHO ARE HAPPY WITH A WOMAN are advising against marriage.

    I’m really torn on it. I want my boys to grow up, get established, and have a family. But, knowing what they’ll face to accomplish that, I can’t in any good faith push them in that direction. It pains me to say it, but at this point I will continue to promote marriage as the best way to raise kids, but I WILL NOT continue to push the idea of doing so on them. IF they want to have children, it will be their choice to do so. I’ll do my best to give them all the info I can so that they can make an educated decision, but I won’t push an agenda other than that they should do what they need to feel happy and satisfied with their life, regardless of what society and “woman” have to say about it.

    And in some ways that breaks my heart.

    I’ve also got two young women under my care, and I find it difficult to figure out how I should go about even engaging them when it comes to relationships and marriage. For the most part, I’m simply trying to get them to see that life isn’t all about THEM and THEIR needs. Perhaps just getting them to step outside the usual solipsism will be enough to help them along. But the truth is, I’m not 100% sure what all this means for men, so I have less of an idea when it comes to women. I’m trying like hell to teach them how to have reasonable expectations, but it is damn difficult when everywhere they turn they are told they can “have it all” and that they should “never settle”. I catch them spouting out Blue Pill crap and try to set them straight, but I get the impression that it goes in one ear and out the other. After all, everyone else says they can get everything they want. What does one old guy know?

    • JustYX says:

      “How many of the regular male comment in the ‘sphere are from seemingly happily married men advising young men NOT to marry?”

      I saw some guy attacked for saying this in the last few days, I wish that I could remember where. The women said that he wasn’t allowed to have that view(!) Seems to be a recurring theme lately – women telling men that the men’s views of their own reality are wrong. I wouldn’t believe it possible for them to be that arrogant, but some of the are.

      As you say, they should be scared that men are saying that, especially as the guys in question mean it.

      And good luck with your efforts, I mean that. I admire what you are trying to do while recognising the size of the challenge.

      • Ted D says:

        “And good luck with your efforts, I mean that. I admire what you are trying to do while recognising the size of the challenge.”

        Thanks for the sentiment, but I hope you realize that I’m in this primarily for selfish reasons. I have kids, and in many ways I’m simply “in the game” for them at this point. To be sure, I’m learning and changing a lot through this journey (which oddly enough started with me wondering why my first marriage tanked) but at this point I’m not nearly as worried about myself and my survival as I was when I first clicked on a link to MMSL. Married or single, with or without a woman in my life, I’ll do just fine. I fully intend to make marriage #2 last, because I have NO intentions on having a 3rd. LOL

        “As you say, they should be scared that men are saying that, especially as the guys in question mean it.”

        Oh I honestly think they ARE scared, otherwise what would the point be about constantly harping on the ‘Sphere and how evil/misogynistic/racist/etc it is? If men weren’t waking up, the ‘Sphere could easily be marginalized and shoved aside by the mainstream. But the truth is, men ARE waking up with or without the ‘Sphere leading the charge. Guys that have never heard of Roosh are looking at the state of marriage and deciding it isn’t for them. Add some Red Pill knowledge to that mix, and you have a very serious situation for Western women to deal with.

        I love my wife and my kids. I derive a great deal of pleasure and happiness from having them in my life. I still believe that a healthy marriage is the best way to raise healthy, well adjusted children. And yet I find myself unable to fully support marriage for my sons, or any other young man today. It isn’t even about the risk since simply living is risky. It is very much about the current LEGAL state of marriage and how biased it is against men’s interests. Add to that how difficult it is to find a woman WORTHY of marriage, and I fear that my boys will never be able to realize the happiness and pride of leading a family and creating a living legacy.

        And guys like Escoffier and Lokland who appear to be happily married, decently “adjusted” men are now saying that marriage is a raw deal. The VERY men expected to be waiting for these women as they prepare to settle down and raise a family, are beginning to teach their sons that marriage may not be in their best interests. THAT is the real threat. Guys like Roosh may be dispensing the info, but they are NOT the real threat to the FI. Men like us are the threat, when we are armed with the knowledge Roosh and others provide. Make no mistake gentlemen, the ‘Sphere is NOT the enemy of the FI. WE are.

        I have to wonder. Does this increase my “bad boy” image? :-P

      • intjguy says:

        Well I think part of it is a matter of projection of solipsism. If a man states the objective fact that he views marriage as being bad for men, then women instantly assume there is a problem with that man’s personal marriage.

      • JustYX says:

        If I had kids, I’d be in the same boat as you Ted.

  4. intjguy says:

    Yes it’s quite a dilemma about what to advice your boys. My personal strategy is going to be to filter very hard for a good wife. If someone passes the filter, then I’ll marry her and have kids. If not, then I won’t get married. Not worth the risk.

    As for the young women, I suggest you send them third party information. The Garfunkel and Oates song is pretty good. If they read long articles, Kate Bolick’s article is a good cautionary tale.

    • Ted D says:

      Well obviously I’ve given up any hope of the “get a job, get married, make me grandkids” line of thinking at this point. I’m not anti-marriage by any leap of the imagination, but in the past I would have done what my family did in my youth: stress the importance of family. Now? I’m mostly stressing the importance of living life for yourself and your dreams first, and IF a family is part of that then choose the mother of your children wisely. In some ways it feels like a betrayal of my family and the morality I grew up with. But the days when that morality was actually helpful and useful are long gone.

      I’ll say this, I think my boys already have a FAR more realistic opinion of women than I had at their age. (for that matter, I think they understand “female nature” better than I did up until I found MMSL a few years ago). I don’t worry that they’ll be taken by surprise when they learn that women are not virtuous and noble like I did. (meaning that at least they aren’t putting women on that damn pedestal like I did growing up) But, I DO see that they are being influenced by the Blue Pill in terms of “serving the greater good” and the FI, so that’s where I’m concentrating my efforts to open their eyes.

      • JustYX says:

        “But the days when that morality was actually helpful and useful are long gone.”

        That’s one of the most painful parts of the red-pill for older men I think.

        We still have all the ‘this is how it should work for men to build a healthy society’ in our heads, but we’ve crashed into the reality wall. The smart ones realise that they have to address that new reality as the old way of living is now a recipe for a man to be exploited. And that the old reality is not coming back (I’m glad about that actually as I don’t think that it was great for men to live their lives for the benefit of society at a great cost to themselves). Perhaps we can move to real equality? no quotas, no AA, treat everyone as an adult with adult rights and adult responsibilities, rule of just law (rather than emotion). That isn’t current feminism, it isn’t even close.

  5. intjguy says:

    I’m looking at data for college-educated women. Unfortunately, the NSFG reports only separate interviewees by either age or level of education, not both at the same time. However, the data I’m seeing suggests that college-educated women are no more likely to get married than other women in their 20s (in fact those with postgraduate degrees are less likely to get married in their 20s), but unlike other women, college-educated women who delay marriage are having a lot more success getting hitched in their 30s. Of course, more and more college-educated women are delaying marriage, so one wonders whether this will be sustainable in the long run.

    • intjguy says:

      In fact, to warm up my statistical skills, I think I’m going to examine the raw NSFG data and look at college-educated women of all ages. I’ll have that post up sometime around the weekend.

      • JustYX says:

        I’m purty good on logic, but stats aren’t something that I’ve mixed with professionally. Some of the trouble comes from statistically incompetent reporters re wording the carefully worded actual papers. The specific words used matter in these reports.

    • JustYX says:

      Are there enough college educated women in the 35-39 and 40-44 groups that are still marrying that they should have negated the marriage stall of the whole population?

      to put it another way;
      The stall happened. A small population of grads still marrying at their normal rate would not affect the stall. If, however, the grad population is statistically significant, then the stall means that the stall should have happened to them too.

      There’s a potential discrepency between the surveys.

      Perhaps there’s a problem with the sampling of the population in one, or both, surveys?

    • JustYX says:

      “Unfortunately, the NSFG reports only separate interviewees by either age or level of education, not both at the same time.”

      That’s either a very poor survey, or a poor report from the survey, or a poor article about the report from the survey…that information is clearly significant.

      • intjguy says:

        Well I can understand what the people who wrote the survey were doing. There are several variables (such as age, race, income, education-level) along which they can split the data, and they simply don’t have enough space in the report to split the data along multiple variables at the same time, so they split the data along each variable separately.

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