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Study: Marriage rate at historic low, but not for long

Posted On Thu, June 27, 2013

Perhaps due to economic struggles that have remained in place since the Great Recession, the rate of marriage in the U.S. has dipped significantly, according to new demographic data.

Reported by USA Today, Demographic Intelligence - a Charlottesville, Va.-based polling firm, recently conducted an analysis of the prevalence with which people are tying the knot in the country. They discovered that the rate of marriage is at it's lowest point in more than 100 years, falling by more than 5 percent since 2009.

At the same time, though, researchers predict that at some point in the near future, the rate of marriage will pick up again, as a larger percentage of individuals between 18 and 34 years of age are becoming marriage-eligible.

An unexpected prediction
Andrew Cherlin, director of the Hopkins Population Center at Johns Hopkins University, told the newspaper that with the rate of marriage in an almost perpetual state of decline, it's unusual that the group is predicting that more people will be exchanging wedding vows. However, given that more young people are getting older, their theory does have some validity - especially for those who want to have a family.

"If you're going to get married in time to have kids, you can't wait forever," said Cherlin. "So they may be saying that the postponement of marriages is running its course, and a backlog of young adults is about to schedule their weddings."

Between 2007 and 2009, the number of marriages that occurred during each period decreased by approximately 2 million, the researchers point out. However, a substantial portion of these - 175,000 - were postponed.

Wendy Manning, co-director of the National Center for Family and Marriage Research at Bowling Green State University, told USA Today that what the researchers failed to account for were remarriages, which may ultimately prove to be the fatal flaw in their assessment.

"The report is focusing on the echo baby boomers entering into their marrying years," said Manning. "[This] is true, but my issue is that one-third of marriages are remarriages, and the remarriages are not among the young people."

Even if the rate of marriage does increase, it would still be in record-low territory for a considerable amount of time. The newspaper reports based on the analysis that in 2013, the rate is not expected to move past 6.8 marriages for every 1,000 people, which is down from 7.3 per 1,000 in 2007.

Life insurance still crucial for unmarrieds
With marriage levels where they are, this may have some believing that they don't need to worry about life insurance rates, seeing as how those who purchase coverage generally do so for their spouse and children. However, as the Insurance Information Institute points out, life insurance is still a protection that singles should be sure to secure.

Life insurance can be used to pay down debt and final expenses so that other family members, such parents or siblings, aren't adversely affected by funeral costs that have to be provided for. In addition, the proceeds can go toward a charitable cause that's deemed to be worthy of supporting.

This type of coverage can also be used in ways that have nothing to do with end-of-life scenarios. For example, the III notes that whether a plan is whole life or permanent, the proceeds of a policy can be withdrawn from at the owner's discretion, provided that the policyholder didn't expressly state that they want it used as a death benefit when first purchased. This can be adjusted, though, by getting in touch with the insurer.

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