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Unmarried Households the Norm

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For the first time in US history, traditional marriage isn't the preferred living choice in most houses. Recent data shows that 50.2 percent of American families weren't married. That figure, 56.8 million, is a large decrease from six years ago. At that time, married couples made up 52 percent of the 105.5 million households.

Single women headed more than 14 million households, while single men ran another 5 million. There was a large number of "non-family households," which means unmarried, gay or heterosexual couples living together.

The change could mean significant changes in every part if American life in the future. For example, there could be changes in family law or national politics. In the short term, however, it shows the failed efforts of conservatives, despite their focus on traditional marriages and families.

Douglas Beshavor, a sociologist with the American Enterprise Institute, suggested that short-term relationships and unmarried couples who live together would be more common for years to come. As a result, people will find themselves more alone than ever before. Both parents will work, so there will be fewer siblings, cousins, aunts, and uncles. America will move towards a society even more focused on the individual.

"Change is in the air," Beshavor said. But will it be positive or negative?

Preview some of the lesson material:

Warm Up: Do you agree or disagree? Why?

  1. Marriage has been an important part of society, and it will be important in the future.
  2. Marriage is old fashioned. To be single and to have short-term relationships is best.
  3. There is little reason to get married if a couple is already living together.
  4. Children need to have contact with cousins, aunts, uncles, etc.
  5. It's wrong, disgusting, and/or sinful for an unmarried couple to live together.

Fragments: Remember how the fragments were used, and complete the sentence from today's article.

  1. For the first time in US history, traditional marriage...
  2. There was a large number of "non-family households," which means...
  3. The change could mean significant changes in...
  4. Both parents will work, so there will be...

post-Comprehension: Talk about the following questions in pairs/groups. Remember to support your answers!

  1. What are the marriage rates in your country? Are the rates increasing or decreasing?
  2. Why do you think less people are getting married in America?
  3. Do you think marriage rates all over the world will eventually go down? Why/not?
  4. What do you think will happen if there are more unmarried people?
  5. Would you recommend to young people nowadays to live together before marriage?

Google Search: Type "unmarried households" into Google. Look at the websites, and/or read additional articles on this topic. Discuss or write an essay about your findings.

Download the lesson:

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