OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - Nebraska’s marriage rate has dropped to its lowest level since 1925.
The Omaha World-Herald reports that in 2013, the state’s marriage rate was 6.3 marriages per 1,000 residents, according to a study by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. Marriages peaked at a rate of 14.3 in 1941.
Nebraska’s rate ranks slightly lower than the national marriage rate, which was 6.8 marriages per 1,000 residents in 2012.
The report says over half of all marriages in Nebraska in 2013 included either a bride or a groom who were over 30 years of age, which is up 40 percent from 1988.
David Warner, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln says that people have shifted from looking for a “yoke mate” who can help them survive financially to a “soul mate.”
“We expect a lot more out of marriage today than we did in the past. We expect our partners to be our soul mates, to be our best friends, to be the person who is the source of our personal fulfillment,” he said.
Dan Hawkins, associate professor of sociology at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, notes that the United States is extremely “pro-marriage” in comparison to other Western nations, where cohabitation has “really replaced marriage.” For example, Belgium’s marriage rate during the past decade was 4 per 1,000 people.
Sociologists also cite women delaying marriage to pursue education and a career, and more couples choosing to live together without getting married.