January 19, 2006
US Census data shows that for the first time more women are now living without a spouse, and in 2005, married couples became a minority in most households.
Fifty-one percent of women are living without a spouse, up from 49 percent in 2000.
"Society has said that you don't' have to be married anymore," said Dr. Anita H. Clayton, UVa Professor of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences as well as author of Satisfaction: Women, Sex, and the Quest for Intimacy.
Today the majority of women aren't married and living with their spouse.
"The more educated women are, the more likely they are to be able to strike out on their own, or support themselves on their own," said Clayton.
Women are also exposed to more now with education, travel and technology, which give more options than just what families, religion or society tells them to do.
"We have to look at whether this is freeing for women or whether this puts them in a position where they're not getting what they want," said Clayton.
Either way this impacts society
"Including care of the elderly, including insurance, including rights with regard to property ownership and things like that," said Clayton.
The data does break it down by ethnicity. African-American women are the least likely to get married, while Asian and Hispanic women are the most likely to be married. Studies also show that women are less likely to be happy in a marriage than men.
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