Marriage rate continues to decline in state

Published 7:11 pm Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The marriage rate in Alabama continues to decline, according to recent study conducted by Auburn Montgomery’s Center for Demographic Research. The study, entitled The State of Marriage in Alabama, is based on 2008 data and shows a marriage rate of 8.7 percent per 1,000 people across the state.

Butler County’s marriage rate was 8.5 percent per 1,000, one of 36 counties with a marriage rate below the state average. The highest rate of marriage was in Washington County (26.8), the lowest in Macon (4.5).

Highlights of the study:

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– People are getting married later in life.

– There is a slight increase in the percentage of women marrying younger men.

– Alabama’s marriage rate has reached its lowest level in five decades, but it is still higher than the national rate.

– Fifty-seven percent of Alabama grandparents living with their grandchildren are actually responsible for these children, compared to 41 percent nationwide.

The percent of same-sex couples is lower in Alabama (0.3 percent) than the U.S. (0.5 percent).

According to the study, “While the institution of marriage does hold significant meaning for many, the research has identified the value of healthy marital relationships as a key ingredient for adult and child well-being. Additionally, the health of marital relationships within a community can be linked to crime rates, education levels, and the productivity of its citizens. Therefore, the advantages of healthy couple relationships and marriages encompass child, adult, family, and community well being.”

A stable marriage, then, is an important institution in any civilized society.

While no one should hurry or rush themselves into marriage, there is value in forming a loving and committed relationship, especially considering the positive effects it has on children and the community as a whole.