The downward trend that shouldn't be

The downward trend that shouldn't be

The downward trend that shouldn't be

Though marital trends aren't what they used to be, a family advocate says marriage is still "worthwhile work."

The number of married Americans has reportedly dropped steadily over the past several decades, especially among people in their 20s.

Back in the 1960s, 90% of 30-year-olds were married. Today, only about 40% of 30-year-olds are married.

Szoch, Mary (FRC) Szoch

"We know that fewer and fewer people are getting married, and we know that dating, even among young adults and teenagers, is becoming less and less common," notes Mary Szoch, director of the Family Research Council's (FRC) Center for Human Dignity. "So, we're seeing fewer and fewer people willing to make a life-long commitment to someone."

"We have seen the rise in people living together," she adds. "People who live together before they're married are more likely to be divorced -- if they do get married. We know, too, that there are a number of other issues that arise from the lack of a willingness to commit for life. A lot of those are things that have an impact on children."

For example, a married woman is far less likely to get an abortion. Also, children who grow up in a household with their married mother and father generally fare better than those from broken families.

Waiting a little bit to get married has been shown to help. Teen couples are more likely to divorce, but so are those who get married after their late twenties. Those who tie the knot in their early to mid-twenties are most likely to have successful marriages.

"People need to recognize, too, that marriage is work, and it's very worthwhile work," Szoch asserts. "Loving someone is often a choice. It's a daily choice to put that other person's needs before your own."

In addition to being happier and more likely to thrive, married individuals also report better health and are financially better off.