The Effects Of Marriage On America Essay

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The Effects Of Marriage On America Essay, Research Paper This paper will report on six effects marriage has on America and its people. These include who, when, why, what, and where. We will look at who marries whom, when people get married, why the rate of marriage is at such a low, what effect marriage has on America, and where the instability in marriage come from. Our first topic of study includes who marries whom. In general, American people tend to marry individuals of the same social and economical class. Some marriages do occur outside this class, however they usually do not move very far. Women are more likely than men to marry for the purpose of attaining a higher social status (Collins and Coltrane 265). Religion and race also determine who people tend to marry.

During the 1960 s, there was a tendency in America to marry within your own religion. For example, 79% of Catholics, 91% of Protestants, and 92% of Jews married someone within their religion. Today, religious intermarriages in America are more common. For instance, 40% of Jews marry non-Jews (268). Likewise, 98% of all marriages take place within the same race. Interracial marriages have been a recent development. Until 1967, 17 states declared interracial marriage illegal. The most common interracial marriages include Native American women (54% of their marriages are interracial), Japanese American women (41%), and Filipino women (32%). The majority of these marriages are to white men (265-266). Interracial marriages are slowly becoming more socially acceptable and therefore

paving the way for acceptance of multiculturalism in America. In their book, Sociology of Marriage and the Family, Collins and Coltrane help to answer when American people marry. Prior to the 1990 s, it was common for working class women to marry in their teens. Conversely, working class women typically marry around the age of seventeen to nineteen. Some will marry even earlier. Working class men marry at a slightly older age. Middle class women would marry approximately the same time they graduated college. Men categorized as middle and upper class marry a number of years later than working class (184). During the last decade however, most people were delaying their marriage until their mid-twenties. Statistically, 1 out of 4 adults remained single past the age of 30 (137).

Although the marriage rate has gone down, the divorce rate has gone up. The Rutgers National Marriage Project researches why the rate of marriage is at such a low. The results of this July 1999 study show that rates have fallen to a 40-year low. One reason for this lies in the fact that teen confidence in marriage is decreasing. They have little to no positive role model to follow and therefore become pessimistic about their chances for having a successful marriage themselves. Alternatives to marriage such as cohabitation and unwed parent hood are slowly becoming more socially acceptable according to the report and therefore young people opt for those alternatives (Popenoe p1of2). Women are especially pessimistic about their chances for a successful marriage. Fifty percent of

marriages are expected to end in divorce or permanent separation (Ponenoe p1of2). Obviously Americans prospective on marriage is not entirely optimistic. There are other perspectives to help explain what effect marriage is having on a national level. According to Mary Otto of the Knight Ridder Newspapers, marriage may have a positive effect on individuals in this country. A new Florida law compels high schools to offer marriage and relationship skills classes. Louisiana and Arizona couples can now opt for stricter covenant marriage vows . She goes on to write last year lawmakers in Ohio and 16 other states also pushed for covenant marriage. (Otto p1of4). In addition to these positive reforms, Katrina Woznicki reports that married couples are happier than cohabits. Based on data