A Pew Research Center survey of 2,691 Americans finds that 40% are considering marriage as becoming obsolete. That is up from 29% reported by a similar study done by Time Inc. in 1978. There is a downward progression in age levels who believe this. 32% of the 65+ group see marriage as becoming obsolete as compared to 44% of those in the 18 to 29 group.
There are economic grouping differences as well. Those whose income level is less than $30,000 a year see marriage as less needed as do blacks at 44%, and those with a high school diploma or less at 44%.
Another way of looking at this is that the serial divorce statistics drive attitudes toward marriage. 29% of Americans under 18 live in homes where one or both parents were either divorced or not married in the first place. The word family by this group is redefined from the nuclear model to include single parent with child, unmarried with child, and same sex raising a child.
The link between wealth and health has been made in global studies. Married men earn and keep more of their money than single men by 11% to 33%.
It might be concluded that the increasing commitment to being ‘uncommitted’ is driven by convenience and not economic wisdom. Bundle reviews at bundle.com has a recent survey with results showing that marriage pays in every area of expenditure when compared with single men or single women either living alone or together. Those saying “I don’t” pay more taxes for starters. According to the IRS pub 17, the most expensive category of filing is single and the best is married filing jointly. Singles pay twice as much of their income eating out; when they buy groceries they pay 25% more of their income; clothing one third more and even staying at home and watching cable or satellite costs them almost twice as much.
Bundle used data provided by Citi. The Citi data was gathered by survey from July 2009 to June of 2010. The comparisons were made using ‘typical’ 26-35 single male or female with incomes under $50,000 but more than$40,000 and who spent together an average of $5,255 with rent excluded. Had this typical unit been married the study says they would have spent an average of $4,079 per month and saved the difference of $14,000 per year.
One area in which the married outspend their co-habitating counterparts is home improvements. The married unit spent an average of $996 per year more.
Other studies have demonstrated other positive effects on the bonds of matrimony. For openers the life expectancy of married people is longer than for the never married. One joker added, “Maybe it just seemed longer”. The results suggest that marriage is good for your health.
Social activities of the married were found to be a positive benefit in a study of 2,761 people between 13 and 65. Social activities had the same benefit as exercising as far as contributing to a long life with lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol. Men benefited more than women. It appears that socializing keeps the brain active.
Combined with the married benefits of more active socialization is that they experience less depression. Less depression also means lower incidents of alcohol and drug abuse. In fact, depression equates with smoking risks in resulting in lower life expectancy for the single.
The married avoid some of the risks of casual sex and exposure to STDs, AIDS or of equally risky behaviors such as motorcycle and dangerous driving. And when they do become sick there is someone who has made a vow to stick with them in sickness and in health. Couples do care about one anothers fiber as one current commercial has it but also about medical checkups, sleeping habits and a healthier life style in general.
To maximize the married bonus it is important to have a healthy marriage in the first place and having children and grandchildren for whom you must set a positive example is a plus as well. Is marriage bound for oblivion? Not in my long lived lifetime.