Monday, January 22, 2007

Most Women Not Living With Husbands – Congratulations, Healthy Widows!

A new Census Bureau study shows that slightly under half of women are now living with husbands. Some see this as further as proof that women don't need marriage, that it is a minority lifestyle and will fade in the future.


Three fourths of women marry. More than half are still married. The 9 percent who are widows can't be read as "anti-marriage." Most of the 11% who are divorced remain pro-marriage – just not to their exes. And many of the unmarried quarter are younger women who hope to marry.

Moreover, most men are married, and continue to benefit from it.

Many women delay marriage, but still cohabit and have children. This is especially true of children of divorce, who want a good marriage so badly that they will mark time cohabiting until they are sure.

I think that when the word starts to get out that cohabiting prevents good marriages more than it helps secure them, the marriage rate will go back up. And I believe the divorce rate can continue to go down, especially as panicy young marrieds absorb the wisdom that they can ride out the rough spots, just as all previous generations have.

This study is the low moment of the curve, not the wave of the future.

ADDENDUM: Michael Medved reports that the New York Times story is even more flawed than I thought. They included all girls 15 - 19 in the total. This hugely inflates the number of females who are living without husbands, but does not, as they claim, mean that most women are living without husbands. My 17- and 18-year-old daughters are living without husbands, and a very good thing, too. I want them to marry someday, but not any time soon. Shame on the Times for such distorted -- if not deliberately devious - reporting.


Anonymous said...

I have often thought that social scientists should prepare and offer a course in Statistics for Journalists in every journalism program. Then Dewdney (200% of Nothing), Maier (The Data Game), Best (Damned Lies & Statistics, Paulos (Numeracy), Murray,Schwartz, & Lichter (It Ain't Necessarily So) and the rest wouldn't be able to make a fortune reporting the statistical foibles of journalists.

Gruntled said...

Medved thinks that the error was not made out of ignorance.

Roderick said...

LOL, I thought you guys would welcome the 'study' as proof of the impending doom of society?

I mean you guys are always crowing about how the family is being destroyed?

Gruntled said...

Ah, you miss my purpose Roderick. First off, I am always for the truth, so sloppy statistics are just wrong. Second, I am againt fear mongering of any kind. This is, after all, the Gruntled Center. There are, of course, threats to the family, but we discuss in this blogs the dozens of ways in which things are better than the doomsayers think.