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Marriages cimbed in '79 -- and so did divorces

An annual summary of the nation's vital statistics by the Department of Health and Human Services said nearly 2.4 million couples were married in the United States in 1979. The total was the largest annual number of marriages ever recorded, exceeding the previous peak of nearly 2.3 million in 1946 -- when Gls returned from World War II. The 1979 rate was 2 percent higher than the 1978 rate.

At the same time, nearly 1.2 million couples were divorced in 1979, a 3.5 percent jump over the previous year.

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The 1979 birthrate also grew to nearly 3.7 million, up 4 percent from 1978 -- only the fourth year to show an increase since the long-term decline began in 1958.