Sunday, September 21, 2008

Teenage Marriage

Politics often raises collateral issues. All the recent publicity about Sarah Pallin’s daughter raised the issue of teenage marriages. Sarah Kershaw wrote about it in a recent article in the September 4, 2008, New York Times entitled, "Now, the Bad News on Teenage Marriage." See entire article at
I had not given a lot of thought to teenage marriage. The article says, "The median marrying age for women in the late 1950s was about 19, according to David Popenoe, co-director of the National Marriage Project at Rutgers University and an emeritus professor of sociology there. But a marriage between 19-year-olds — or even 17- or 18-year-olds — then would not have been described as a "teenage marriage," he said. It was too routine to be given a special label." I was also fascinated to learn that now "Over the last 35 years the median age for first marriages in America has risen dramatically, from 23 for men and 21 for women in 1970 to 27.5 for men and 25.5 for women in 2006, according to William A. Galston, a senior fellow in governance studies at the Brookings Institution."
She says in the article that "Studies show that today teenage marriages are two to three times more likely to end in divorce than are marriages between people 25 years of age and older. The most comprehensive study on marriage and age that sociologists cite was published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2001, from 1995 data, and it found that 48 percent of those who marry before 18 are likely to divorce within 10 years, compared with 24 percent of those who marry after age 25."
Even though there is a higher likelihood of a divorce in a teenage marriage, fortunately there are fewer of them. That is a good thing.
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