Conflicting Stats Portend An Ominous Future

Conflicting Stats Portend An Ominous Future

The U.S. birth rate is at an all time low.  The birth rate among women of peak childbearing age has been declining for the past 12 years especially for women in their mid 20s and early 30s while births to older women age 35 to 44 years has slightly been on the rise.  The overall birth rate fell to 13.9 per 1000 persons in 2012 down a full 17% from the peak in 1990 when it was 16.7 per 1000 people.  I suspect the higher birth rate for women 35 to 44 years of age reflects not only adults marrying later in life but deferring the start of their families.

In 2011, the average age for a man marrying was 28.7 years of age and a woman at 26.5 years of age.  Compare this to 1968 when the average age for a man was 23.2 years and a woman 20.8 years of age.  Of course when one looks at the longevity of a marriage in the United States a whole different picture emerges.  Over the last few decades, the number of marriages that have taken place in the United States has seen a decline whereas cohabitation, divorce and childbearing out of wedlock have seen a significant rise.  The marriage rate in the U.S. is about 7.1 marriages per 1000 population and the divorce rate hovers around 3.5 per 1000 population so about 50% of all marriages end in divorce.

Cohabitation now affects more than two-thirds of all married couples in the U.S.  In other words, they lived together before marrying.  In 1960, there were 450,000 couple cohabitating.  By 2011, this number had risen to 7.5 million.

As of December 1, 2012, the United States had a resident population of 314,907,000.  White people or people having their origins in Europe, the Middle East or Northern Africa still constituted the majority of the population at 223,553,265 or 72.4% of the population.  Projections are, however, that the fastest growing segment of the population in the next decade will be Hispanic or Latino.  The African American population held at 13.6% or about 42,827,352 people.

About 43% of all Americans reported that they attend church weekly or almost weekly.  In reality, statistics shows that only about 25% actually attend church.  In addition, 16% of Americans polled reported that they do not have a specific religious identity up from near zero in the 1950s.  A recent Gallup poll of moral values found 76% of Americans saying moral values in the United States are getting worse.

I am not sure what one can gather from these statistics but it appears that Americans are not having as many children as in the past, marrying later in life, possibly deferring marriage altogether while living together, and only about 1 in 4 Americans attend any church on a regular basis.  Our population is changing with Hispanics projected to comprise a greater segment of the population as older Americans age.  At least half of all marriages still end in divorce and our moral values are reaching an all time low.  If I were a betting man, I would question the direction we are heading as a nation.

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Written by
Donald Wittmer