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Marriage refers to a union between a man and a woman that is socially sanctioned. However, recently the society has accepted the new homosexual marriages although such marriages do not lead to a child birth. This essay will only deal with heterosexual marriages because the available statistics from the two states in question were obtained at a time when heterosexual marriage was the order of the day in United States of America. At the same time monogamous marriage will be solely considered because US law does not recognize or value polygamous marriages.
In United States, arranged marriages are not common meaning that the men and women are free to look for a marriage partners. Since marriage marks a phase of transition from childhood to adulthood it is a serious issue and this is why the US government is interested in keeping an eye on the marriage trends in respective states. In order to monitor these trend the government uses marriage rates which basically looks at the marriage taking place per 1000 adults. This essay dwells much in the states of Illinois and Oklahoma and the differences and the reasons for this differences will make up the body of this discussion.
Marriage rate differs a lot in the state of Oklahoma and the Illinois. However, by looking at statistics from the individual state first we can easily locate the difference and explain it later on. Illinois state shows as continuous decline of marriage rate in the state from 1990s to 2005 as the table below shows. In 2005, 6.1 marriage rate was the lowest one to be recorded in the state.
Table 1. Marriages, Divorces and Annulments Occurring in Illinois 1991 to 2005 (Rates per 1,000 estimated population)
|Year||Marriages||Divorces and Annulments|
This drastic decline in marriage rate could be attributed to various factors. Schoen et al (1988) asserts that ‘composition effects in the state have produced shortages of black males, particularly those with characteristics seen as desirable in husbands.’ Therefore year in year out fewer black men’s get married and this affects the marriage rate by a considerable margin. We have to keep in mind that the black population in this state is substantial. Therefore arguing a long the same line I feel that more women are interested in marrying white men who are few in numbers.
Education has also played its part in the marriage rates in this state. This is due to the fact that education determines one earning in the state and thus affects marriage indirectly. For instance, there has been a notable change in structure of marriage for native born men in the state between 1980 and 2005. (“The Labour market”, p.3) notes that ‘the male who had dropped out of school at high school level recorded a 23% decline in the rate of marriage between 1980 and 2005.’ This decline was as a result of a continuing decline in the economic fortunes and opportunities of many males who do not have advanced education levels. This case also applies in Oklahoma and in the entire United States population.
Low economic status for these men reduces their attractiveness as marriage partners since the society expect the man to be the head of the family. As a head the husband is expected to provide for his family and lack of education curtails ones chances of getting a good salary in any form of employment. Slim economic opportunities are also known to be a major cause of instability in marriages. Women in this state also find themselves in the same position. Arguing a long the same line (“The Labour market”, p.3) asserts that ‘adult women who failed to graduate from high school have been characterized by very steep declines in their marriage rates in the same period.’
Turning on to Oklahoma State we realize that this is the state that has been recording the lowest marriage rates in the recent past. Arguing a long the same line Jean (2007) points out that ‘Oklahoma’s marriage rate is below the national average.’ In order to bring out the true picture Jean notes that in 1990 the marriage rate in Oklahoma stood at 10.6, 4.6 in 2000 and 6.5 in 2004. These entire rates do not match the national marriage rates at the respective years when census was taken. For example, the national marriage rates at stood at 7.4 in 2004.
A discussion on marriage cannot be complete without looking at divorce which calls for separation between husband and wife. Divorce can also give us some of the reasons which make people to shun marriage. For instance, divorce rates affects marriage rates in any given region. This is true because high divorce rate means that there is a problem in the social structure which makes many people get frightened and thus they do not get married. Oklahoma divorce rate is ranked second in the nation. Ross (2002) points out that ‘for every 100 marriage licenses issued in 2001, the state granted 76 divorce petitions.’
Such high rates have long term effects on the decisions made by the natives in the region. Potts (1999), notes that ‘divorce has personal, sociological and moral consequences.’ Since a divorce take place in stages many young people who observe married people getting divorced are carried away by the sufferings that people undergo and this makes them to fear getting married. Divorce rates are very few in Illinois as indicated in the table given above and they are declining over the years.
In conclusion marriage forges a union between a man and a woman and they are both responsible for bringing in new members in the society. The two states have different marriage rates and although the marriage rates are declining over the years the Oklahoma case is worrying. Divorce rates are high in Oklahoma and this has contributed to unstable marriage rates in the region. Education levels contributes a lot in marriage rates because people with low education levels do not have stable incomes meaning that they are less likely to support a marriage with all its responsibility. Therefore majority of the illiterate people do not get married.
- Jean, W. Marriage in Oklahoma. Posited on 2007.
- Marriages, Divorces and Annulments Occurring in Illinois 1991 to 2005. Web.
- Ross, B. Oklahoma divorce rates, attitudes, and marriage movement progress. Web.
- Schoen, R. and Kluegel, J. R. The Widening Gap in Black and White Marriage Rates: The Impact of Population Composition and Differential Marriage Propensities. America Sociological Association Journal, 1988
- The Labour market consequences of dropping out of school in Illinois.