Archive for Monday, December 27, 2010


Study suggests more couples skipping marriage

December 27, 2010


Made up of more pets than people, Lauren Higbee’s family is unique. Higbee, 25, says her family is composed of her three cats — Zoey, Ruby and Bear — and her boyfriend, JP Redman.

Higbee and her boyfriend have been together for 2 1/2 years. They moved into the same apartment in August. For both of them, it’s the first time they have ever lived with a significant other.

“He’s tidier than I am, so he’s adjusting to that,” says Higbee.

Moving in together happened naturally, a logical step for a couple who was already spending most of their time together.

What did not happen naturally, however, was getting married.

“We live like we’re married,” Higbee says. “(Marriage) is just not something I’m really worried about. I’m more worried about money and bills.”

Higbee is one among many. Nationally marriage is on the decline, while cohabitation is on the rise. A survey conducted by the PEW Research Center last month found that nearly four of out of every 10 Americans believe marriage is obsolete. Just 26 percent of all twenty-somethings are now married, while in 1960 two-thirds of people in their 20s had already tied the knot.

It’s not that people aren’t maintaining long-term relationships. They are. They just aren’t getting married. Forty-four percent of all adults have cohabited with a significant other at some time in their lives. And the young are more likely to view cohabitation in a positive light.

“People feel much more comfortable having sexual relationships with people whom they’re not married,” says Dennis Karpowitz, associate professor of psychology at Kansas University.

Karpowitz teaches Marriage Theory at KU. He says people are more relaxed about sexuality than they were 50 years ago. According to the PEW study, 46 percent of Americans now believe living together without being married is OK. And 9 percent believe cohabitation is positive for society, a preamble before making the plunge into marriage.

“The real question is what’s driving these changes,” Karpowitz says. “Many people are delaying marriage primarily to focus on their career; they are waiting to get established and secure financially before deciding to marry. They think, ‘I first need to get secure in terms of financial security, then I’ll think about family and children.’ That’s a very different way of thinking about things than was the case when the second World War ended.”

Will Elniff, 26, is looking for Mrs. Right. He says he’d like to meet her tomorrow, but even if he did, he wouldn’t marry her for another three to five years.

“I’ve got to finish all of my school before that happens, including the paralegal certificate that I want to pursue from Johnson County,” Elniff says. “Well, as much as I hate to say it, many people are attracted to those with money, a good job or a good career.”

Financial security is essential to a good marriage, says Elniff, which is why he’ll be postponing marriage until he’s established professionally.

Some people aren’t just postponing marriage. Some people, like Anthony Faraci, 24, are choosing to abandon it altogether.

“I never intend to get married,” says Faraci. “I don’t believe in the church. And as for the economic standpoint, it’s unfair to tie one person to another financially.”

Studies show marriage contains benefits other forms of long-term relationships do not. For one, married couples feel more secure in their relationships than unmarried people.

“Marriage has tremendous advantages over being single or living together,” says Karpowitz. “It has advantage economically, in terms of happiness, in terms of security, in terms of the quality of sexual relationship people have.”

All around, research shows married people reap benefits that unmarried people don’t.

But for people like Elniff, Faraci and Higbee, those benefits aren’t enough.

“When I was younger, marriage was something I assumed I would do,” says Higbee. “(But) I don’t even think about it now.”


Chelsea Kapfer 6 years ago

What are these grants for single mom's? Seriously, I would really appreciate more information on this, we are really struggling.
I make too much money to qualify for aid from SRS, but not enough to pay the bills. I do not qualify for earned income. So, any information you could pass on is greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

Chelsea Kapfer 6 years ago

I wish I would have known her when i was in College. I did, however, receive some help though Heartland Works- but it was for anyone in nursing school, not just single moms. It had no income requirements and mostly everyone in my class applied for, and received it. Great program! And if your daughter can get those grants- that is awesome! So many people-myself included- are burdened with student loan payments after graduation.

gr 6 years ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

verity 6 years ago

I know I will regret replying to a troll, but what the hay.

Quote from the article: “'Marriage has tremendous advantages over being single or living together,' says Karpowitz. 'It has advantage economically, in terms of happiness, in terms of security, in terms of the quality of sexual relationship people have.'

All around, research shows married people reap benefits that unmarried people don’t."

Did you even read the article?

gr 6 years ago

Yes I did. But Karpowitz was not Higbee and Redman. The question still remains, why were those two just playing house and not getting married? Especially if there are all these benefits? It's obvious they think they see some benefits to not getting married. Which goes against what you suggest.

beatrice 6 years ago

Verity didn't "suggest" anything, he quoted the findings by researchers as stated in the article. Will those findings cover all circumstances of all people? No, of course not, but it does speak for the overall benefits of marriage for most people. Research demonstrates that marriage isn't just about taxes.

Oh, and by the way, homophobia is queer.

gr 6 years ago

But failed to quote the findings of, "that nearly four of out of every 10 Americans believe marriage is obsolete"

40%. What do you think - significant?

verity 6 years ago

Whether people think marriage is obsolete or not has absolutely zero to do with whether there are benefits to marriage.

gr 6 years ago

But what people think about marriage does have to do with whether they want to marry.

verity 6 years ago

And your point is?

Or do you just have to have the last word?

livinginlawrence 6 years ago

You are exactly right. No grants cover all the costs associated with pursuing higher education, and the loans required by those whose parents are unable to foot the bill are an enormous burden.

livinginlawrence 6 years ago

An extremely late follow-up comment, but.. I don't doubt that what you've been told is true. It's just that what you've mentioned is definitely exceptional, not the norm. Most students need significant aid to pay for college, and most are only eligible for the sorts of aid you have to pay back in full plus interest.

KansasPerson 6 years ago

"Made up of more pets than people, Lauren Higbee’s family is unique."

... followed by....

"Higbee is one among many."

(Just a style quibble. Higbee's family is far from unique; in fact, that's the whole point of the article.)

"Will Elniff, 26, is looking for Mrs. Right."

Well, I see one problem right there! Maybe he should look for a Right who is not already married. :-)

JustNoticed 6 years ago

You are exactly right and really your quibble should be about more than style. I would say the writer has produced gibberish by using "unique" to mean something like "unusual". Unique means one of a kind. A writer should know better. Good catch, KP.

Kirk Larson 6 years ago

This is why we should legalize gay marriage. Gays want to marry because it's important. The opposition to gay marriage has cheapened the institution to the point where it's just another political pawn. Same-sex marriage would make it fabulous again.

Fossick 6 years ago

It will be pretty ironic when religious people and gays are the only ones who get married.

Stuart Evans 6 years ago

Marriage is a religious event. With the decline of religion in the country, it's clear that fewer people feel the need to take a vow in front of god(s). And the government has gotten so knee-deep into the marriage game, that even fewer people want to bother with the hassle.

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