WETZSTEIN: Demi, Ashton and rest of us

A treasure trove of data about the state of our unions was released recently by the federal government.

Let’s do a teaser quiz:

• Is it true that a lot of Americans are still single by their early 40s?

• Are there a lot of “cougars” — i.e., older women in search of younger husbands — prowling around out there?

• Who is more likely to be a serial cohabiter, a man or a woman?

• Is a husband or a live-in boyfriend more likely to have a job?

• Big bonus question: Does cohabiting mean wedding bells are going to ring soon?

Answers can be found in a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics, which recently issued a report called “Marriage and Cohabitation in the United States: A Statistical Portrait Based on Cycle 6 (2002) of the National Survey of Family Growth.”

The 2002 national survey captured data from about 12,500 people — including men, for the first time. The age range for participants was 15 to 44.

• Who’s still single by their early 40s? Relatively few Americans, although the number of bachelors is almost twice that of bachelorettes, the new report says.

Just 8 percent of women in the 40-to-44 age range said they had never married, as well as 14 percent of men in that category. Instead, the vast majority of people in their early 40s — 67 percent of women and 63 percent of men — were currently married.

• Regarding cougar time: Yes, there are lots of comedy skits and advertising jokes about gorgeous, alluring older women pursuing (and marrying) handsome younger guys. Actress Demi Moore (born 1962) has made it seem especially sweet and easy with husband Ashton Kutcher (born 1978).

The reality is that Demis are rare.

The vast majority of wives (67 percent) have husbands who are at least one year older than them.

Of the 20 percent of wives with younger husbands, just 2 percent have Ashton Kutchers, i.e., mates who are seven years or more younger.

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About the Author
Cheryl Wetzstein

Cheryl Wetzstein

Cheryl Wetzstein covers family and social issues as a national reporter for The Washington Times. She has been a reporter for three decades, working in New York City and Washington, D.C. Since joining The Washington Times in 1985, she has been a features writer, environmental and consumer affairs reporter, and assistant business editor.

Beginning in 1994, Mrs. Wetzstein worked exclusively ...

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