A scary Pew Research Center report, based on the latest census, calculates that only 51% of American adults are married. Some have leaped to the conclusion that marriage is declining, and about to tip into a minority taste.
This alarmist talk is overblown.
First, most adults are married, as they always have been in this country.
Second, a significant fraction were married until death did them part. As we live longer, the fraction of the population composed of widows and widowers is growing. They are not evidence that marriage is passé - quite the opposite. They made the ultimate commitment to marriage, and we should never forget it.
Third, as the Pew report notes, the average age of first marriage is the highest it has been in this country - 26 for women, 29 for men. We can be confident from past trends that the most of those unmarried twenty-somethings will marry. We know from current survey research that they want to marry.
The actually scary trend is that the poorest and least educated people - the families that could most benefit from the material side of marriage - are the least likely to marry.
The good news is that the marriage rate among educated and dual-career couples is rising, and constitutes the great majority of the top half of the class and status structure.