Marriage rate drops to record low

Marriage rates in the U.S. have dropped to their lowest numbers on record in recent years, according to new government figures on Wednesday.

The statistics reportedly show that American marriages fell 6 percent in 2018, with 6.5 new unions formed out of every 1,000 people, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.

Sally Curtin, a statistician at the center and lead author of the report, told The Wall Street Journal that that's the lowest rate since the federal government started keeping records of marriage data in 1867.

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"Millennials are in peak marriage years, their 20s and 30s, and it's still dropping," Curtin said. "This is historic."

Other historic marriage rate changes include a massive drop the beginning of the Great Depression in the 1930s, followed by a dramatic spike after World War II, with 16.4 marriages per 1,000 people in 1946.

Marriages rates steadily declined from 1982 to 2009, followed by flattening rates and some growth in 2014, according to the data collected.

In 1970, approximately 7 in 10 adults lived with a spouse, number that dropped to just over half in 2019. Nearly 7 percent identified as living with a partner last year, compared to less than 1 percent in 1970.

Curtin said that the aftermath of COVID-19 could play a role in further reducing marriage rates, saying, "A lot of it is the economy, and the extent to which COVID has a lasting effect on the economy, it might affect family formation."