The day of love just passed, and data shows the tradition of marriage may be becoming a thing of the past too. According to the 2019 American Community Survey fewer people were married in 2019 in Southeastern Michigan than in 2010.
As shown in the first map below, compared to the second map, each of the seven counties in the region had a lower percentage of married individuals in 2019, with Wayne County having the lowest percentage of married individuals. In Wayne County, 39 percent of the population was married in 2010, and by 2019 that percentage had dropped to 36 percent. Livingston County had the highest percentage of married individuals. In 2019 61 percent of the population in Livingston County was married, and in 2010 64 percent of the county was married. Monroe County experienced the largest decline between 2010 and 2019; in 2010 58 percent of the population was married, and in 2019 that decreased to 53 percent.
Declining marriage rates have been a trend for nearly two decades now, and this is likely due to economic and social trends. According to the Brookings Institute, as marriage rates decline, non-marital births, cohabitation and single parenthood have all been increasing. Furthermore, education and income levels also play a role in current marriage trends. For example, those with at least a bachelor’s degree are more likely to get married than those without such a degree, according to the Brookings Institute. Additionally, marriage rates are declining the most in the middle class. Potential reasons for such declines include economic instability for both men and women, wage inequalities and the concern over the cost of children.
In addition to the percentage of people getting married declining, so is the percentage of married individuals with children. Between 2010 and 2019 each county in Southeastern Michigan experienced a decline in the percentage of married couples with children under the age of 18 in the house. In both 2010 and 2019 Livingston County had the highest percentage of married individuals with a child; in 2010 that percentage was 30 percent, and in 2019 that percentage was 24 percent. Wayne County had the lowest percentage of married individuals in 2010 and 2019 at 18 percent and 15 percent, respectively. Monroe County experienced the largest decline of individuals married with children; in 2010 25 percent of individuals were married with at least one child under the age of 18, and by 2019 that declined 15 percent.
Overall, the data shows that we as a society are moving away from the traditional idea of love, marriage and a baby. As mindsets have shifted, so have economic conditions. What is in store for the tradition of marriage and a family remains unknown post-pandemic.