Situation Critical

April 2007

"Premarital sex is normal behavior for the vast majority of Americans, and has been for decades."

So says Lawrence Finer of the Alan Guttmacher Institute (USA Today, Dec. 19, 2006). The Guttmacher Institute published a study in Public Health Reports (Jan./Feb. 2007), the journal of the U.S. Public Health Service, based on interviews conducted by the federal National Survey of Family Growth with over 38,000 people for a period of 20 years. The study found that nine out of ten Americans -- ninety percent of men and women alike -- have engaged in premarital sex. This is the triumph of the sexual revolution: Sex is now almost completely unmoored from marriage. And marriage in America is sinking like the Titanic.

How far has marriage sunk? According to an analysis of U.S. Census Bureau figures by The New York Times (Oct. 15, 2006), married couples in 2005, as a proportion of U.S. households, "have finally slipped into a minority." Only 49.7 percent of U.S. households are still headed by married couples, with and without children, "down from more than 52 percent five years earlier." Among 25- to 34-year-olds, once prime marrying age, the proportion of married couples "slipped below 50 percent for the first time within the past five years." For the married minority, the U.S. divorce rate holds steady at around 50 percent. Americans can't seem to abandon ship fast enough.

Incidentally, The New York Times also reported that, since 2000, the number of homosexual male couples rose by 24 percent, and lesbian couples by 12 percent. Peculiarly, in that time, the number of homosexual "male partner" households rose 77 percent in, of all places, the rural Midwest. Could this be the Brokeback Mountain effect?


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New Oxford Notes: April 2007

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I guess that President Bush, like the team quarterback, must take the blame for all the ills of this, once great, country. But then I suppose that the church through it's erstwhile visible members has had no bearing on the current state of affairs? Members like Senators Kennedy, Leahy, Durbin, Kerry, Pelosi in the house, priests like Fr Drinan and of course the priest scandals of recent times. As for the rest of us, what are we doing? Posted by: wunsch
April 20, 2007 10:08 PM EDT
Writing from Australia, I'd like to see a similar comprehensive review of the state of our nation. We had a national census here last year but the results don't come out till end of 2007. Sadly, I think the trends will be similar. Posted by: Mozzie
May 06, 2007 05:24 PM EDT
PS. Thanks for a well-written article! Posted by: Mozzie
May 06, 2007 05:25 PM EDT
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