Experts say tough economic times affect the number of marriages

By Lauren Payne - bio | email feedback

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) -- "People tend to not get married when there's economic uncertainty in their lives," said ASU Sociologist, Dr. Kevin Shafer.

Economic uncertainly is reality for many Americans.

"People don't want to commit to a long term relationship that might be financially difficult," said Dr. Shafer.

One reason Dr. Shafer says more people are choosing to put off tying the knot is because of difficult financial times.

"It's much easier to do things like co-habitate or do things like having a long term dating relationship than it is to have a marriage that has difficulty from the "get go"," said Dr. Shafer.

In fact, census data from 2009 show just 52 percent, a record low number of people 18 and older say their married.  Those numbers are down from 57 percent in 2000.

"People still get married, but they get married later," said Dr. Shafer.

Dr. Shafer says more and more  people are committing to finding financial and career stability before committing to a marriage.  He says financial difficulties are changing the roles in the families as well.

"A lot of people have found it necessary to have two incomes in order to have a middle class lifestyle," said Dr. Shafer.

Dr. Shafer says due to economic conditions he's not surprised by the census data on marriage, and expects more people will put solid financial ground before marriage.

"More and more people going to college and increasing difficulty in establishing your career are not going to allow the average age of marriage to decrease," said Shafer.

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