SAVE MARRIAGE in the American Community Survey

Just as U.S. marriage rates have reached their lowest level in a century and rates of divorce are high, the Census Bureau has proposed to eliminate questions about marriage, widowhood, and divorce in its Annual American Community Survey (ACS). This must be avoided! If these questions are dropped, the United States will become the only country in the developed world that does not generate annual age-specific rates of marriage and divorce.marriage math

The ACS is the ONLY way to estimate divorce for the entire nation and local (county and city) marriage and divorce rates. The National Vital Statistics System does not collect key socioeconomic information, is missing divorce data for one-fifth (20%) of the population of the U.S., and provides no information at the county or city level.

Share Your Comments with the U.S. Census Bureau About Proposal to Remove Certain Elements from the ACS

Comments are due to the Federal Register by May 27, 2015. Please send your feedback to Updated information is provided at IPUMS.
The questions below can be answered only with the ACS:
  • Additionally, these have been featured in national news outlets and showcased in NCFMR Family Profiles ...
  • In any given year, there are more marriages than divorces in the U.S. In 2013, there were almost two marriages for every one divorce in the U.S.
  • The marriage rate has declined and not returned to the pre-recession levels. Divorce has returned to pre-recession rates.
  • Yes. The college educated have higher marriage rates and lower divorce rates than their more modestly educated counterparts. The ACS is the best and only source for statistics on the incidence of marriage and divorce across different economic as well as racial and ethnic subgroups. 
  • From the ACS, we know that nearly one in three Americans who married last year was remarrying. Men have almost a 100% higher remarriage rate than women. No other data provides estimates of remarriage by age, gender, or race/ethnicity.
  • Baby Boomers have experienced the highest increase in divorce rates with one in four divorces occurring to persons over age 50. The ACS is the best way to estimate these age patterns.
  • Actually, it’s a 12-year itch. Estimates from the ACS indicate roughly half of first marriages end 12 years after walking down the aisle. 
  • Washington DC has the highest, and Idaho and Utah have among the lowest. 
  • The ACS will be the only way to estimate levels and trends in same-sex marriage and divorce.
  • Email Jennifer Jessup in the Department of Commerce by May 27   

What does the Research Community Say?

Which questions are on the docket to be cut?

The Census proposes to eliminate all five questions in the ACS that describe marital history:The Census proposes to eliminate all five questions in the ACS

  1. In the past 12 months did this person get—Married?
  2. In the past 12 months did this person get—Widowed
  3. In the past 12 months did this person get—Divorced?
  4. Times Married—How many times has this person been married?
  5. In what year did this person last get married?

For more information directly from the federal government:

SAVE MARRIAGE Media Coverage