, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp 907–924 | Cite as

On Measuring the Marriage Squeeze

  • Donald S. Akers


During the 1960’s, single men have been marrying at an increasing rate, and single women at a decreasing rate. These trends can be explained almost entirely by disproportions between the sexes at the prime ages of marriage—that is, by what is commonly called the “marriage squeeze.” The disproportions arose from the increase in births during the period 1939-47, coupled with the fact that women marry earlier than men.

These changes in marriage patterns must certainly have some effect on the birth rate and on household formation, although perhaps a secondary one. The consequences of these changes are a project for further inquiry.


A partir de 1960, los hombres solieros se han casado a una tasa cada oee creciente, y las mujeres solteras a una tasa decreciente. Estas tendencias pueden ser explicadas, casi enteramente, por la desproporción entre los sexos en las edades en las que ocurre el matrimonio con más frecuencia, lo que comunmente se conoce como “presion matrimonial.” Las desproporciones surgieron de un aumenlo de los nacimientos durante el período de 1939-47, unido al hecho de que las mujeres se casan más jovenes que los hombres.

Estos cambios en los patrones de matrimonio deben tener calgun efecto, aunque talvez secundario, sobre la tasa de nacimientos y sobre la formación de hogares. Las consecuencias de esios cambios constituyen un proyecto para mayor investigación.


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  1. 1.
    For the historical trend in the study of marriages and marital states, see Paul H. Jacobson, American Marriage and Divorce (New York: Reinhart, 1959), Ch. 1, “The Trend of Marriage”; Donald J. Bogue, The Population of the United States (Glencoe, Illinois: Free Press of Glencoe, 1959), Ch, 10, “Marriage and Marital Status”; Conrad and Irene B. Taeuber, The Changing Population of the United States (Census Monograph Series [New York: John Wiley, 1958]), Ch. 8, “Marital Status”; Paul C. Glick, American Families (Census Monograph Series [New York: John Wiley, 1957]), Ch. 6, “First Marriages and Remarriages”; Ronald Freedman, Pascal K. Whelpton, and Arthur A. Campbell, Famity Planning, Sterility, and Population Growth (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1959), Ch. 10, “Future Trends in Family Size”; Thomas P. Monahan, The Pattern of Age at Marriage in the United States (Philadelphia: Stephenson-Brothers, 1951); John Hajnal, “The Marriage Boom,” Population Index (April, 1953); and Robert Parke, Jr., and Paul C. Glick, “Prospective Changes in Marriage and the Family” (paper presented to the American Sociological Association, Miami Beach [August, 1966]).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Paul C. Glick, David M. Heer, and John C. Beresford, “Family Formation and Family Composition: Trends and Prospects,” in Marvin B. Sussman, ed., Sourcebook in Marriage and the Family (New York: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1963), p.38.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    For other computer simulation programs which analyze marriages and marital status, see Guy H. Orcutt et al., Microanalysis of Socioeconomic Systems: A Simulation Study (New York: Harper, 1961), Ch. 5, “Marriage”; and Jean C. Ridley and Mindel C. Sheps, “Marriage Patterns and Natality: Preliminary Investigations with a Simulation Model” (paper presented to the Population Association of America, Chicago [April 1965]).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Robert Parke, Jr., and Robert O. Grymes, “New Household Projections for the United States” (see above in this issue, (paper presented to the American Sociological Association, Miami Beach [August, 1966]) pp. 442–52); and Ellen Linna Jamison and Donald S. Akers, “Analysis of the Differences Between Marriage Statistics from Registration and Those from Censuses and Surveys” (paper presented to the Population Association of America, Cincinnati, Ohio [1967]).Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    For the application of actuarial techniques to marriages, see Paul H. Jacobson,, Ch. 11, “Mortality and Duration of Marriage”; and Wilson H. Grabill, “Attrition Life Tables for the Single Population,” Journal of the American Statistical Association (September, 1945).Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    For a discussion of the use of the single population to estimate average age at marriage, “Age at Marriage and Proportion Marrying,” Population Studies (November, 1953); and Thomas P. Monahan, op, cit. The Pattern of Age at Marriage in the United States (Philadelphia: Stephenson-Brothers, 1951) , pp. 124–36, 221–36.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    For other analyses of the effect of age differentials on marriage, see J. C. Caldwell, “Fertility Decline and Female Chances of Marriage in Malaya,” Population Studies (July, 1963); Stanley Lebergott, “The Labor Force and Marriages as Endogenous Factors,” in James S. Dusenberry et al., eds., The Brookings Quarterly Econometric Model of the United States (New York: Rand McNally, 1965); and J. A. Rowntree, “On the Falling Age at Marriage and Decrease of Celibacy,” and Colin M. Stewart, “On the Influence of Fertility and Mortality Change upon Various Aspects of Marriage” (both papers appear in the Official Documents of the European Population Conference, Strasbourg [August, 1966]).Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    An analysis of the marriage squeeze in terms of the prime ages of marriage can be found in David Goldberg, “Fertility and Fertility Differentials: Some Observations on Recent Changes in the United States,” in Mindel C. Sheps and Jeanne C. Ridley, eds., Public Health and Population Change (Pittsburgh: The University of Pittsburgh Press, 1965), pp. 124–26.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Additional series of projections will be shown in forthcoming numbers of Current Population Reports on “Projections of the Number of Households and Families: 1967 to 1968” and “Projections of Marriages and of Marital Status in the United States: 1967 to 1985.”Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Population Association of America 1967

Authors and Affiliations

  • Donald S. Akers
    • 1
  1. 1.United States Bureau of the CensusUSA

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