College Degrees, Religious Faith Contribute to Longevity in Marriage

A story in the Washington Times examined marriage cultural statistics and found that two haven’t changed in 30 years: 8 in 10 women will marry by the age of 40, and 20 years later, 52 percent of those women will still be married. These came from a report released by the National Center for Health Statistics this week.

The report said marriages that lasted at least 20 years were associated with having a college degree, having a religious life, not cohabiting before marriage and not having previous marriages or children from previous relationships.

Divorces took an “underlying shift” in that the rate of divorce since the ’70s has increased for those with moderate education and decreased for those with college degrees. William J. Doherty, professor of family social science at the University of Minnesota, commented that college graduates have “figured out how to do marriage in this century.”

Sociology professor W. Bradford Wilcox, who also directs the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, commented on these results that a major reason why divorce rates remain high “is because Americans have largely embraced the individualistic ethos ushered in by the 1970s, and are often unwilling or unable to navigate marital difficulties that creep up after several years of married life.”

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