Other key findings from the Pew study include:
• The decline in the number of newly married adults – from 4.4 million in 2009 to 4.2 million in 2010 – was shared by all age groups but was especially sharp for the youngest adults.
• The decline in the proportion of currently married adults is most dramatic for the young. Only 9 percent of adults ages 18-24 were married in 2010, compared with 45 percent in 1960.
• The proportions currently married diverge notably by racial and ethnic group. More than half (55 percent) of whites are married, a decline from 74 percent in 1960. Among Hispanics 48 percent are married, compared with 72 percent in 1960. Among blacks, only 31 percent are married, compared with 61 percent in 1960.
Shmuley Boteach, a rabbi and television host and author of several books about marriage, says the trend is very troubling. He says it might be the outgrowth of much that is wrong with a capitalist, materialistic society.
“When you look at everything that is being discussed in the political/public sector, you find no one talking about the disintegration of the American family. Nobody cares, and yet, it affects everything,” he says.
“All the research shows that when kids are not raised in stable homes with two parents who dote on them – one as disciplinarian, one as nurturer – that the child develops imbalances that he tries to fulfil for the rest of his life.”
The pursuit of faster, bigger cars and larger homes is an outgrowth of this, as is the vicarious fame coveted by those who watch reality shows, Rabbi Boteach maintains.