A Pew Research Center/Time magazine study released Wednesday reports that the prevalence of marriage is at an all-time low, with just 51 percent of American adults married today. By contrast, in 1960, 72 percent of American adults were married. Furthermore, only 20 percent of 18-to-29-year-olds are married today, as opposed to 59 percent in 1960. Not surprising, given these numbers, is that 39 percent of Americans (from a 2010 report) see marriage becoming obsolete, up from 28 percent in 1978 when Time first asked whether it is. Despite the growing skepticism towards marriage, Americans still hold family dear, with over three-quarters reporting in 2010 that it is the most important element in their life. But how Americans define family depends on demographic, with younger, secular, and liberal Americans more accepting of unmarried cohabitation set-ups than their respective older, religious, or conservative counterparts. The 2010 study also found that the drop in marriage rates affected those at the bottom of socioeconomic scale than those at the top, with a 16 percent spread between married Americans without a high school degree (48 percent) and those with a college degree or higher (64 percent).
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