Ross Douthat with the New York Times notes that David Frum has changed his position on gay marriage after concluding:
If people like me had been right, we should have seen the American family become radically more unstable over the subsequent decade and a half.
By the numbers, in fact, the 2000s were the least bad decade for American family stability since the fabled 1950s.
Douthat isn’t convinced, and today wrote a post asking What Was the Family’s “Least Bad Decade”? In his post he points out several problems with Frum’s assertions, including a link to my post back in July of last year where I pointed out that the previously accepted decline in divorce rates was brought into question by newer more complete data from the American Community Survey (ACS). Since then The Marriage Project has also adopted the ACS data.
See Douthat’s full post on the NY Times website using the link above. I left a comment there but at the moment it is in moderation:
———————– Comment ———————–
Thank you for the link. I don’t know if you noticed but The Marriage Project did end up using the ACS divorce rate data in their latest report (fig 5, P70). Since they use collated state data (with missing states) for previous years it makes it appear that divorce rates went up between 2000 and 2011. However, I’m not sure we can really infer that since as the note below the chart points out the two data sources aren’t compatable.
Either way, out of wedlock birth rates steadily climbed during the last decade (see Fig 1 NCHS Data Brief No. 18 May 2009). Similarly, “ever married” rates dropped dramatically for women in their 20s and 30s. It is hard to tell if this is an overall decline in marriage rates, or simply a postponement of marriage (cutting child bearing years very close). My own interpretation of the data is that women are intending to postpone marriage to their 30s but are finding it very difficult to marry once they get there. I went through this data in my post: http://dalrock.wordpress.com/2012/11/24/more-grim-news-for-carousellers-hoping-to-jump-at-the-last-minute/