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Age of marriage

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Marriage comes in many different forms across cultures, and has varied widely throughout history. Today in Western cultures, people tend to get married later than in other parts of the world and later than previous generations within the same culture. Additionally, it will explore the possible consequences of people getting married at a later age, including the possibility of a reduction in divorce rates and longer periods of time spent on education and career-building prior to marriage and producing children. Section One In the U.S., as well as other Western countries, the median age of marriage has increased dramatically in the last few years. For example, between 1890 and 1980, women got married at the age of 22, with only slight fluctuations in the years between (Uecker amp. Stokes 840). Similarly, the age at which men got married actually went down between these years, going from 26 to 25 (Uecker amp. Stokes 840). Since 1980, however, the average age at marriage for both men and women has increased, with women in the year 2000 being 25.1 on average, and men being 26.8. People now are even older, with the last estimates in 2008 giving the median age for women as 26.1 and the average age for men being 28.2 (Uecker amp. Stokes 840). Not only has the median age increased, but fewer people are married in the U.S. than ever before, with a decrease in married individuals from 72% in 1960 to just over half in 2008 (Uecker amp. Stokes 840), which is linked to the later age of marriage. There are a variety of reasons why people are choosing to get married at a later age. …
, however, women are actively encouraged into education and therefore are becoming more interested in working full-time, having a career and participating in the working world as only men did at one time in history. Women who focus on their career have been shown to delay marriage, and to particularly delay having children (Lehrer amp. Chen 1), as these developments are distracting for women in the workplace. With these developments has come a reduced stigma for women choosing to live on their own, which means that it is now socially acceptable for anyone to choose work and to be self-sufficient without a partner, leading to the amoralization of later age marriages. As the role of women has changed, so have their legal rights with respect to marriage. In 1933, for example, women were granted citizenship outside of their husbands (Coontz 143), meaning that they were fully-fledged Americans, which they had not previously been. In 1975, married women began to be allowed to have financial credit in their own name (Coontz 145). It is decisions like these which make getting married less of a necessity for women (as they can now function independently) and more of a choice, which means that more and more people are taking their time over the decision and thus getting married later in life. Another reason why people are getting married later is due to the moral boundaries surrounding sex. Whereas previously, sex outside of marriage was frowned upon in most circles, it is now generally accepted outside of strict religion (Gilbert 222). One of the major reasons for getting married in the past was to have legitimate children. with this boundary removed, there is no longer the pressure to get married so young. Additionally, many of those who got pregnant outside of marriage would