Revealing relevant political and religious news, history, topics and truths

MORAL WATCH: Indicators Part I


35 INDICATORS of America’s Moral Condition

This work focuses on 35 Indicators to show that direction in which our Nation is heading.  The follow meter rating is for the purpose of following trends.  Scale is each Moral Indicator (MI) is based on .1 to .9 with higher numbers indicating a worst condition – all multiplied by 3.176


According to the CDC/National Vital Statistics System, in 2014 there were 2.14 million marriages in the U.S. at a marriage rate of 6.9 per 1,000 total population; and the Divorce rate was 3.2 per 1,000.   Following tables also uses data from U.S. DHHS.

Year Marriages Rate per 1,000
1900 709 thousand 9.3
1920 1.27 million 12
1940 1.6 million 12.1
1960 1.52 million 8.5
1980 2.41 million 10.6
1990 2.46 million 9.8
2000 2.32 million 8.2
2007 2.2 million 7.3
2014 2.14 million 6.9
2016 2.08 million 6.8

There are 112 million unmarried people over age 18 in the U.S., representing nearly 47% of the adult population; U. S. Census Bureau.  (2012); 39.2% of the unmarried population aged 18 and older were formerly married and 60.8% have always been single – U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey (CPS), 2008.  For every 100 unmarried women there are 88 unmarried men. -U.S. Census Bureau. “America’s Families and Living Arrangements: 2010”

In Europe, according to Eurostat, the marriage rate per 1000 inhabitants significantly dropped from about 8 in 1970 to about 4 in 2011 – indicating half the same percentage of citizens is getting married as before; and more over their divorce rate still climbed from about 1 per 1000 in 1970 to 2 in 2011.   They stated ‘2.1 million marriages and 986 thousand divorces took place in the EU-28 in 2011… 4.2 marriages for every 1000 persons and 2.0 divorces…  Since 1965, the crude marriage rate in the EU-28 has declined by close to 50% in relative terms… The lowest crude marriage rates were reported in Portugal and Luxembourg – both 3.0 marriages per 1,000 persons.’

Thus, looking at the once America and European ‘Christian Nations’ we find that marriage is on the decline; and significantly so.  And America typically follows Europe in religious and culture trends, indicating the statistics are only going to get much worse.

Year Divorces Rate per 1,000
1900 55.7 thousand .7
1920 170 thousand 1.6
1940 264 thousand 2
1960 393 thousand 2.2
1980 1.18 million 5.2
1990 1.17 million 4.7
2000 944,000 4.0
2007 856,000 3.6
2014 813,000 3.2
2016 825,000 3.4


Although, the number of divorces is down; it must be viewed together with rate of marriages and cohabitation to see the true moral picture.  For example, the rate of divorces is trending down because less people are marrying and more are cohabitating.  And an inverse relation is not untypical here.    Thus the divorce rate in 1980 was 22.6 divorces per 1,000 married women in 1980 and 17.5 in 2007.   Viewed from a hundred years ago, one can see the increase in the rate of divorce and the common increased number of divorces indicates that Americans often end marriages – although it is obvious that the reasons will vary – and some are justifiable; yet, the fact remains the statistics show a culture problem.


In December 2014, Crisis Magazine stated in its article, A Response to the Cohabitation Epidemic, “the proliferation of research and literature about the sexual and marital habits of ‘Millennials’ is staggering… Marriage is increasingly postposed or rejected in favor of transitional ‘trial marriages’ or temporary live-in situations glamorized today in popular media as ‘the next step’ in intimate relationships… between 50 – 70 percent of couples today are cohabiting before marriage… Catholics reflect national trends in spite of the Church’s consistent teaching that cohabitation and premature sexual relations are a ‘grave sin’ and ‘contrary to the moral law.’ The CDC had noted that… only 26% of women who become pregnant while cohabiting will get married within the year…  cohabitation increases the likelihood of numerous negative outcomes for women while essentially granting to men all the ‘benefits’ of marriage without men having any responsibilities.”

In 2000; out of 104,705 households, only 55,311 had married couples.  In 2013, NBC News posted an article, ‘The new normal’: Cohabitation on the rise study finds, which stated, “Nearly half of women in what researchers call ‘first unions’ with men – 48 percent – moved in with no wedding vows according to interviews conducted between 2006 and 2010, up from 43 percent in 2002 and 34 percent in 1995.  About 40 percent of those relationships became marriages after three years, but about 32 percent continued as cohabitations, suggesting an important new role for the arrangement once known as “shacking up,” says one researcher.  ‘It’s becoming more acceptable to be in a long-term, committed relationship without a legal document,’ says Pamela J. Smock, director and research professor at the Population Studies Center at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor…’

‘For all women in the study, cohabitation relationships lasted longer: They averaged 22 months in 2006 to 2010, up from 13 months in 1995.  Those longer relationships include the nearly 20 percent of women who became pregnant in their first year of living with a man outside of marriage. Nearly a quarter of recent births among women ages 15 to 44 occurred while they were cohabiting, up from about 14 percent in 2002…  Between 1995 and 2006 to 2010, first-time cohabitation jumped by 43 percent for white women, 57 percent for Hispanic women and 39 percent for black women, the study showed. Only Asian women stayed the same, with about 22 percent cohabiting during both time periods.  The study authors, led by Casey E. Copen of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s vital statistics division, put it this way: ‘Cohabitation is a common part of family formation in the United States and serves as both a step toward marriage and as an alternative to marriage’.”

When a nation simply and seriously touts that cohabitation is ‘an alternative to marriage,’ without implying any shame to the obvious fornication, its culture and policies have changed its morals.

In June 2016, Barna Research released a study, Majority of Americans Now Believe in Cohabitation, showing that “two thirds of adults (65%) either strongly or somewhat agree that it’s a good idea to live with one’s significant other before getting married… (Only) 41% of practicing Christians” agreed; whereas 88% of people with ‘no faith’ agreed.

Moreover, the direction of the nation can be seen as ‘Millennials (72%) are twice as likely as Elders (36%) to believe cohabitation is a good idea.’  Likewise, ‘no surprise… liberals …are twice as likely as conservatives…’ to agree.   However, when asked, ‘would you want your child to Cohabit before Marriage?’ only 16% responded ‘Yes, absolutely;’ 24% – no, definitely and 16% – no, probably not.

A Barna editor states, “…religious leaders will be wise to notice that a growing number of their constituents—particularly in younger demographics—are accepting cohabitation as the norm.  As with premarital sex, the arguments against cohabitation will seem increasingly antiquated as the general culture accepts and promotes it. When everyone in their circles and everyone on television is living together, young people will begin to see it as benign. Religious leaders will need to promote the countercultural trend by celebrating the reasons to wait—rather than trying to find evidence for why it’s wrong (because such tangible, measurable evidence may not exist). What are the spiritual reasons for waiting? How does waiting promote better discipleship? Better marriages? A better family life? These are the questions that young people, in particular, will need answered in order to resist the cultural tide toward cohabitation.”

Christian Mingle and JDate presented the State of Dating in America (2014) which reported, “…28% of respondents admit to having been unfaithful in a prior relationship.”  And 87 % of the men and 76 % of the women responded that they ‘would have sex before marriage.’  Another 5% said they would if ‘engaged.’

A 2015 study from the American College of Pediatricians published a paper, Cohabitation, which warned people about the consequences of cohabitation for them and their children.  The study reported ‘cohabiters commit increased violence against their partner’ and ‘marriages that follow cohabitation are still 50 % more likely to end in divorce.  Also 27% percent of cohabitations dissolve without marriage in the first three years.’  It showed cohabiting men had more than double the rate of alcohol abuse.  (And I am sure also more drug abuse and STDs).  MOREOVER the study shows ‘children born of cohabiting parents are over four times more likely to suffer separation of their parents by their third birthdays.’

According to a 1989 National Survey of Families and Households (NSFH) by the Center for Demography and Ecology at the Uni. of Wisconsin, “27% of respondents agreed that it was all right for an unmarried couple to cohabit even if they have no interest in considering marriage.”  The study showed that Jewish and Non-religious couples equality had the highest approval of cohabiting – 5 times that of Catholics, which were still significantly more accepting that Baptist, Lutherans, and Methodist; which Pentecostals the most opposed to cohabitation.  Also, non-domination members were much more likely to be cohabiting that traditional dominations.

The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development reported, “Cohabitation, once rare, is now the norm: The researchers found that more than half (54 percent) of all first marriages between 1990 and 1994 began with unmarried cohabitation. They estimate that a majority of young men and women of marriageable age today will spend some time in a cohabiting relationship… though cohabiting relationships are less stable than marriages and that instability is increasing.”

Studies and Censuses have shown that cohabitation in Central and South America, as well as in Europe has significantly increased.  In most countries the rate of cohabiting has more than double and tripled in the last 30 years.

According to the World Heritage Encyclopedia (2013), concerning Cohabitation, “…Mediterranean Europe has traditionally been very conservative, with religion playing a strong role. Until the mid-1990s, cohabitation levels remained low in this region, but have since increased… University of Chicago sociologist Linda Waite found that “16 percent of cohabiting women reported that arguments with their partners became physical during the past year, while only 5 percent of married women had similar experiences.” Most cohabiting couples have a faithful relationship, but Waite’s surveys also demonstrated that 20 percent of cohabiting women reported having secondary sex partners, compared to only 4 percent of married women. A 1992 study found that male members of heterosexual couples with children are less likely to be a part of the childcare but half the time they are responsible for child abuse… According to an article by Judith Treas and Deirdre Giesen, cohabiting couples are twice as likely to experience infidelity within the relationship than married couples… Cohabitation in Latin America is very common, especially for young people. This region has the highest rates of non-marital childbearing in the world (55–74% of all children in this region are born to unmarried parents).  In Mexico, 18.7% of all couples were cohabiting as of 2005. Among young people, the figures are much higher.

Over 12 million unmarried partners live together in 6,008,007 households. The number of cohabiting unmarried partners increased by 88% between 1990 and 2007.– U.S. Census Bureau. “American Community Survey: 2005-2007.”

The number of cohabiting unmarried partners increased tenfold between 1960 and 2000. – U.S. Census Bureau. “America’s Families and Living Arrangements: 2000.”

12.8% of unmarried-partner households report being same-sex – U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey: 2005-2007.

HOUSEHOLDS (U.S. Census Bureau; Population Survey
Year 5 or more people 1 person
1970 21% 17.1 %
1980 12.8% 22.7 %
1990 10.4 % 24.6 %
2000 10.4 % 25.5 %


Year Married w/children Non-married
1970 40.3 % 12.2 %
1980 30.9 % 16.5 %
1990 26.3 % 19.4 %
2000 24.1 % 21.7 %


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