Is marriage on the decline? A new report from the Pew Research Center finds that just 51% of US adults are married, a record low. But this "does not mean that marriage is dead," one historian insists; it is almost certainly related—at least in part—to the struggling economy. Despite the fact that new marriages dropped by 5% last year, a Pew senior writer explains that marriage is still revered: "On the one hand, we had nearly 40% of Americans tell us they think marriage is becoming obsolete. On the other hand, when you ask people who aren't married, 'Would you like to get married?' they say yes."
Yes, there are fewer married people in all age groups, but the most dramatic statistics, she adds, have to do with younger adults: Today just 20% of 18- to 29-year-olds are married, compared to almost 60% 50 years ago, and people are waiting longer to get married. The median age for women to wed is 26; for men, 29, NPR reports. But, the historian notes, many of the unmarried 20somethings will eventually get hitched; 72% of Americans have been married. (Read more marriage stories.)