Marriage Rates among Latinos on the Decline

A New Report from the Center for Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies at The Graduate Center, CUNY Tracks the Partnership Status Rates in the United States by Race and Ethnicity

Contact:

E-mail: clacls@gc.cuny.edu

NEW YORK, March 1, 2022—The Graduate Center of The City University of New York’s Center for Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies (CLACLS) has released a report on the changes in the demographic change in three historically Latino neighborhoods in Brooklyn.

The report, titled “A Portrait of Partnership Statuses in the United States between 1990 and 2017,” examines the trends among the married, cohabitating, and unpartnered populations between the ages of 18 and 64 in the country. The changing patterns and characteristics of individuals in the United States are investigated in detail by their sex, race, ethnicity, age, and citizenship status.

Over the past thirty years, the general proportion of married men and women in the United States declined from 60% to 50%. In contrast, the cohabitation rate increased (from about 4% to about 7%) as well as the unpartnered population rate (from 37% to 45%) during the same period.

These rates were experienced differently by racial and ethnic groups, explained in the key findings below:

• In 2017, Asians had the highest percentage of marriage (58% among men and 63% among women), followed by non-Hispanic whites (52% among men and 55% among women), Latinos (45% among men and 46% among women), and non-Hispanic blacks (32% among men and 28% among women).

• Cohabitation was more common among non-Hispanic whites (7.0%) and Latinos (7.4%) than Asians (2.7%).

• Non-Hispanic blacks had the highest percentages of individuals who were unpartnered (61.3%), and Asians had the lowest level of unpartnered people (39.4%).

• The percentage of young Latino adults (individuals between the ages of 18 and 34) who were married decreased from 50% among Latinos and 59% among Latinas in 1990 to 28% and 35% respectively in 2017.

• Among domestic-born Latinos, the percentage married decreased from 50% to 33% among men and from 51% to 36% among women. On the other hand, among foreign-born Latinos, the marriage level changed very little: from 60% to 58% among men and 62% to 58% among women. The percentages of cohabitation were similar between the domestic-born and the foreign-born.

• In 1990, Cubans had the highest percentage of marriages, followed by Mexicans, Dominicans, Salvadorans, and Puerto Ricans. While all Latino subgroups experienced a decline in marriage between 1990 and 2017, Cubans had the largest decrease in marriage rates (from 60% to 45%) followed by Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, and Salvadorans.

• Poverty status was closely associated with partnership status. In 2017, Latinos who were not in poverty had a higher marriage rate (48% among men and 52% among women) than those who were in poverty (38% among men and 28% among women). Latinos in poverty were more likely to be cohabiting or unpartnered than those not in poverty.

Contact Sebastián Villamizar-Santamaría, Director of Quantitative Research, for a PDF of the report at svillamizarsantamaria@gradcenter.cuny.edu.

About The Center for Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies

The core mission of CLACLS is to actively support and advance the study of Latin America, the Caribbean, and Latinos in the U.S. in the doctoral programs of The Graduate Center, and to provide opportunities for Latino students at the Ph.D. level. CLACLS’s flagship program is the Latino Data Project, established in 2003 by Laird W. Bergad founding and current CLACLS director. Bergad is a distinguished professor in the Department of Latin American, Puerto Rican, and Latino Studies at Lehman College and with the Ph.D. Program in History at The Graduate Center. The Latino Data Project conducts detailed quantitative research on the Latino population of the United States and New York City metropolitan region, analyzing raw data files produced by the U.S. Census Bureau and other government agencies.

About The Graduate Center, CUNY

The Graduate Center of The City University of New York (CUNY) is a leader in public graduate education devoted to enhancing the public good through pioneering research, serious learning, and reasoned debate. The Graduate Center offers ambitious students more than 40 doctoral and master’s programs of the highest caliber, taught by top faculty from throughout CUNY — the nation’s largest public urban university. Through its nearly 40 centers, institutes, and initiatives, including its Advanced Science Research Center (ASRC), The Graduate Center influences public policy and discourse and shapes innovation. The Graduate Center’s extensive public programs make it a home for culture and conversation.

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