, Volume 6, Issue 3, pp 243-260

First-marriage decrement tables by color and sex for the United States in 1958–60

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Abstract

A new set of first-marriage tables is compared with earlier tables that were prepared by Grabill and Jacobson. The new tables show, among other things, the number of first marriages, first-marriage probabilities, and death probabilities for single persons in a stationary (life table) population by color and sex, based on 1960 Census data on marital status and age at first marriage and on general mortality rates for 1959–61. A comparison of the earlier tables with the new tables provides evidence of a decrease of one or two years in the average age at first marriage between 1920–40 and 1958–60 and an increasing tendency for first marriages to be concentrated within a narrower span of years. The prospects for eventual marriage have risen to the point where it is estimated that all but 3 to 5 percent of the young adults are expected eventually to marry. This development has gone so far that the main question remaining is not whether young people will ever marry, but at what age they will marry.