The measure of romance: Marriage rates were on the rise in the ’40s & ’50s

Wedding in the 1950s

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Census bureau discovers romance popular & marriage rates are going up

by Robert E Geiger (for James Marlow)

In a roundabout way, the census bureau has been measuring the amount of romance in the USA.

It finds romance is popular, more so than in 1940. There are fewer unmarried men at large than there have been for years and years.

This might indicate the chances for a lady to find a husband are getting thinner and thinner — but the number of unmarried females also is at low ebb.

The really big news for old maids is contained in statistics showing that although there now are more than 5,000,000 more women in the United States than in 1940, there are fewer unmarried ones. More women in every age group, 14 to 65, have husbands.

The measure of romance: Marriage rates on the rise (1950)

When the census bureau uses a phrase like “striking decrease in the single population took place,” it means there were a lot of marriages. And that’s what the experts found occurred among the younger women, 20 to 24 years old.

MORE: The deal with dating: Romance matters, but money talks (1952)

Depression babies and marriage rates

In 1940, almost one-half of all the women from 20 to 24 were single. Now, fewer than one-third of these younger women are unmarried.

Actually, as everyone has been told, there were more marriages each year between 1945 and 1949 than ever before in a five-year period. Almost 3,000,000 females were erased from the unmarried columns in these years and transferred to married life. For people who insist on figures, here they are:

In 1940, there were 13,935,000 single women between the ages of 14 and 65. But in 1949, there were only 11,174,000. And it was between these years the total number of women increased by 5,000,000.

The census bureau found in an earlier study that about two out of every three persons in the civilian population now are married. Sixty years ago only, about one-half of the people had a spouse.

MORE: How to snare a male: Dating & marriage advice from 1950

Some women are finding it particularly easy right now to find a husband may be those “depression babies” born around the start of the depression 17 or 18 years ago. But some of these female depression babies may find harder going later on.

The measure of romance: Marriage rates on the rise (1950)

An explanation

The census people explain it this way:

1. Women are more likely to marry men about three years their senior. During the depression, the total number of US births declined.

2. Now, the first of the depression babies are reaching the marriageable age, for girls, of 17 and 18 years. A great many of these 17- and 18-year-old girls will be marrying boys who are 20 and 21.

3. These boys were born before births began to decline, so there will be more of them in proportion than there are girls 17 and 18.

The census experts say the boys, however, have nothing to worry about. They say love always has found a way. The “surplus” boys probably will be able to find girls in other age brackets who are matrimonially-inclined.

MORE: 50+ sexist vintage ads so bad, you almost won’t believe they were real

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