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By Tom Fitton
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Topic - W. Bradford Wilcox
Demographic and cultural signs indicate that the marriage rate, down 50 percent since the 1970s, may be ready to climb again, just as nonmarital childbearing may be dropping, as well.
Although Americans spend $50 billion a year on weddings, a large segment of the population is making an exodus from the institution, says a new report from a family-values think tank.
America's marriage culture may be changing, but two statistics look about the same as they did 30 years ago.
If the wealth of a nation is tied to both the quality and the quantity of its people, then modern trends toward cohabiting instead of marrying, easy divorce and fewer children born to couples will have sweeping economic consequences, a new report says.
Cohabiting is an emerging threat to the health of children and society, two new research reports say.
For at least a generation, marriage and family cohesion have been unraveling in America's low-income families. Now this rending of family ties is spreading into America's middle class, the home of hard-working, blue-collar, service-industry people who graduated from high school but didn't quite land that college degree.
In addition to an "education gap" in marriage, there is also a "faith gap," says the new State of Our Unions report on marriage.
Fully two-thirds of Americans believe in the concept of soul mates, where "two people are destined to be together," according to a recent Marist Poll.
The disappearance of marriage in "middle America" is tracking with the disappearance of the middle class in the same communities, and "strikes at the very heart of the American Dream," scholars Elizabeth Marquardt, David Blankenhorn, Robert I. Lerman, Linda Malone-Colon and W. Bradford Wilcox said in a paper released Sunday.
"The economic downturn reminds us that marriage is more than an emotional relationship. It's also an economic partnership and a social safety net," said Mr. Wilcox.