Marriage: Can you guess who calls marriage obsolete? attitudes about marriage are changing dramatically. This photo was uploaded into Wikimedia Commons for public use.Do you think marriage is obsolete? Many factors could explain the declining number of marriages we discussed Monday. One is the belief that marriage is an outdated institution.

How prevalent is that belief?
Overall, four of ten Americans (39%) agree that marriage is becoming an obsolete social institution, according to the Pew Research Center. That’s a big increase from the 1970s, when 28% felt the same way. But beliefs about marriage as an institution are not uniform across American society.

What groups express this view?
Younger Americans, for example, are more likely than older Americans to think so. Forty-four percent of Americans age 18–29 say the institution is obsolete, compared with 32% of Americans 65-plus. There are also differences by race. Black Americans and Latinos are more likely to say the institution is outdated, compared to white Americans. But the differences are not that big.

Education appears to play a major role in attitudes about marriage. Only one in four (27%) of college-educated Americans say the institution is outdated, compared with 41% of those with some college and 45% of those with a high school education or less.

Do these findings surprise you?

Do you believe marriage is an archaic institution?

Are we better or worse off without marriage?


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Originally published at, an online experiment in civil dialogue on American values.

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