Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Women live without a spouse

I know this should seem somehow consoling... but it doesn't address the issue of children. I can't help think about those who are divorced or widowed and stay unmarried "delighting in their newfound freedom." What a laugh! They realized what a pain men can be.

The benefits issue is a very good question. I often realize that I miss out on a lot of offerings my company provides because they are designed for families.

51% of women live without spouse / Shift reflects trend toward later marriage, staying divorced longer or never wedding

Sam Roberts, New York Times
Tuesday, January 16, 2007

For what experts say is probably the first time, more American women are living without a husband than with one, according to a New York Times analysis of census results.

In 2005, 51 percent of women said they were living without a spouse, up from 35 percent in 1950 and 49 percent in 2000.

Coupled with the fact that in 2005, married couples became a minority of all American households for the first time, the trend could ultimately shape a range of social and workplace policies, including the ways government and employers distribute benefits.

Several factors are driving the statistical shift. At one end of the age spectrum, women are marrying later or living with unmarried partners more often and for longer periods of time. At the other end, women are living longer as widows and, after a divorce, are more likely than men to delay remarriage, sometimes delighting in their newfound freedom.

In addition, marriage rates among black women remain low. Only about 30 percent of black women are living with a spouse, according to the Census Bureau, compared to about 49 percent of Latino women, 55 percent of non-Latino white women and more than 60 percent of Asian women.

In a relatively small number of cases, the living arrangement is temporary, because the husbands are working out of town, are in the military or are institutionalized. But while most women eventually marry, the larger trend is unmistakable.

"This is yet another of the inexorable signs that there is no going back to a world where we can assume that marriage is the main institution that organizes people's lives," said Professor Stephanie Coontz, director of public education for the Council on Contemporary Families, a nonprofit research group.

William Frey, a demographer with the Brookings Institution, a research group in Washington, described the shift as "a clear tipping point, reflecting the culmination of post-1960 trends associated with greater independence and more flexible lifestyles for women. ... For better or worse, women are less dependent on men or the institution of marriage."

Emily Zuzik, a 32-year-old musician and model who lives in the East Village of Manhattan, says she's not surprised by the trend.

"A lot of my friends are divorced or single or living alone," she said. "I know a lot of people in their 30s who have roommates."

Zuzik has lived with a boyfriend twice, once in California where the couple registered as domestic partners to qualify for his health insurance plan. "I don't plan to live with anyone else again until I am married," she said, "and I may opt to keep a place of my own even then."

Linda Barth, a 56-year-old magazine editor in Houston who has never married, said, "I used to divide my women friends into single friends and married friends. Now that doesn't seem to be an issue."

Among the more than 117 million women over the age of 15, according to the marital status category in the Census Bureau's latest American Community Survey, 63 million are married. Of those, 3.1 million are legally separated and 2.4 million said their husbands were not living at home for one reason or another.

That brings the number of American women actually living with a spouse to 57.5 million, compared with the 59.9 million who are unmarried or whose husbands were not living at home when the survey was taken in 2005.


Anonymous said...

This is perhaps the most fraudulent NY Times article to come out in a while. Mr. Roberts basically cooks the books by including widows (women are living longer and longer) and all women over 15 (15 !?!) in the 51% number. He even includes women who's husbands are over seas in the military. Sam Roberts is also responsible for the very common lie that half of all marriages end in divorce. This article is basically a very clever lie.

Pandax said...

A reminder about posting. I allow anonymous posting for various reasons, but please identify yourself somehow (initial, pseudonym, etc.) using "Other" identity or signing the end of your comment.

You made some good points about the misrepresentation in this article. All news is biased no matter who the source is. Please, just be a bit more neutral in your choice of words. Just state your case and leave it at that.

Pandax said...

The unfortunate truth about much of the news these days is that it focuses on the negative. News businesses have to make money somehow, and the fact is that bad news and celebrity gossip get people's attention.

Anony-mouse said...

I don't feel the anonymous poster said anything wrong. She stated her opinion. We can agree with it, challenge it, or move on.