01:20 GMT06 August 2020
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    While lockdowns amid the global COVID-19 pandemic are causing many couples to spend more time together, the rate of formation of new marriages in the US has been dropping for years, recently reaching its lowest point in more than a century.

    The US marriage rate has fallen to its lowest level in 120 years after having declined steadily since the 1980s and flattening over the past 10 years. On Wednesday, a study was published by the National Center for Health Statistics, a part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which stated that only 6.5 wedding licenses were issued for every 1,000 US adults in 2018, the most recent year for which the agency had complete data. 

    This marks a 6% decline from 2017 and comes after a relatively stable rate between 2009 and 2017, when about seven couples married per every 1,000 Americans, the Washington Times reported. 

    The study reviewed population data from 1900 to 2018, pointing out that the marriage rate in the US reached a peak of 16.4 new marriages per 1,000 people in 1946, just after the end of World War II as millions of soldiers returned home, and slowly declined to about 8.5 in 1962. The marriage rate rose again in the 1960s and peaked at 10.9 per 1,000 in 1972 before declining once more. 

    “Studies have shown that adults in the United States are increasingly postponing marriage, and that a record number of current youth and young adults are projected to forgo marriage altogether,” researchers Sally C. Curtin and Paul D. Sutton said in the CDC study. 

    They also stated: “Marriage has been shown to be correlated with positive health outcomes and longevity, and a recent report showed that age-adjusted death rates for both males and females are lowest for those who were married at the time of death.” 

    It is possible that there will be a variety of social and economic implications as a result of this trend. As of now, it is too early to foresee the level of impact the coronavirus pandemic will have on marriage formation in the US. However, historically, data shows that significant shifts in the country’s marriage rate have coincided with major historical events such as the Great Depression and World War II, the study noted. 

    Indeed, Sputnik recently reported that lawyers across the US are anticipating record divorce rates once the lockdowns end, as the crisis has placed unheard-of levels of stress on millions of marriages.

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