The Media Gets it Wrong on the Rate that Women are Married
Actually, Census data show that even with the 15- to 19-year-olds, a majority of American females -- 51 percent -- are "now married." So how does the Times reach a contrary conclusion? By excluding from the category of women with husbands the "relatively small number of cases" -- in fact, it's more than 2 million -- in which "husbands are working out of town, are in the military, or are institutionalized." That startling Page 1 headline is true, in other words, only if the wives of US troops at war are deemed not to have husbands.
Marriage in America is undoubtedly less robust than it was 50 years ago. But it is not yet a candidate for the endangered-species list. The Census Bureau reports that by the time they are 30 to 34, a large majority of American men and women -- 72 percent -- have been married. Among men and women ages 65 and up, 96 percent have been married. Yes, the divorce rate is high -- 17.7 per 1,000 marriages -- and many couples cohabitate without getting married. But marriage remains a key institution in American life. . . . .