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UCLA Sociologist: Between 1962 and 2012, the marriage rate (that is th

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Re: UCLA Sociologist: Between 1962 and 2012, the marriage rate (that is th [#permalink]

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New post 04 Sep 2017, 08:34
mikemcgarry wrote:
Dear aditya8062,
I am happy to respond to your private message. :-) I see you already have gotten some explanations from the brilliant Karishma. I will explain as best I can.

This is a very well written question, and the answer is very tricky to understand.

Let's say that in the 1960s, up to 1992, the average marrying age was 20. Let's say, for simplicity that the average marrying age in 2012 is 35. Now, think about all the women in the 20-35 age range. In 1962, many of them would be married already, and the many of the one who hadn't been married yet would be trying to get married ---- if the average marrying age was 20, then a 28-year-old unmarried woman would be worried and feel pressure to get married, and so many of the unmarried women in the 20-35 range would be apt to get married.

Now, fast-forward to 2012. In 2012, most of the women in the 20-35 range are unmarried, and there's no social pressure to get married at this "young" age, because at this point, people tend to get married at 35. So there would be very little incentive for people to "rush" to get married, and the percentage of women in this age bracket now would have a very low marriage rate --- not because they never plan to get married, but because they plan to get married later, when they are 35.

Another way to say this is --- if women on average get married later, then each woman spends a greater fraction of her life unmarried. If every woman spends a greater fraction of her life unmarried, that increases the total number of unmarried women alive at any one time. If the number of marriages stays the same, and the number of unmarried women alive at any one time increases, then the rate (marriages/unmarried women) will decrease --- make a denominator bigger, and the fraction decreases, even when the numerator stays constant.

Does all this make sense?
Mike :-)


The logic in this question is very hard to understand. If average age of marriage is increasing- that would mean that the women are getting married, just at a later age? So if the women who were once getting married at 16 are now getting married at 35, (ie same pool of women/#/etc), how is that decreasing the marriage rate, which is defined as over 16?

So for example: Let's say average marriage age increased from 16 to 35. In a particular year, you have a "batch" of 16 year olds who are not marrying because average marriage age has increased (though they would have in the past) and in that same year, you also have a "batch" of 35 year olds who are getting married (they would have already been married in the past), offsetting the dip in the 16 year olds marriages.

mikemcgarry can you help?
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Re: UCLA Sociologist: Between 1962 and 2012, the marriage rate (that is th [#permalink]

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New post 05 Sep 2017, 14:36
omizzle wrote:
The logic in this question is very hard to understand. If average age of marriage is increasing- that would mean that the women are getting married, just at a later age? So if the women who were once getting married at 16 are now getting married at 35, (ie same pool of women/#/etc), how is that decreasing the marriage rate, which is defined as over 16?

So for example: Let's say average marriage age increased from 16 to 35. In a particular year, you have a "batch" of 16 year olds who are not marrying because average marriage age has increased (though they would have in the past) and in that same year, you also have a "batch" of 35 year olds who are getting married (they would have already been married in the past), offsetting the dip in the 16 year olds marriages.

mikemcgarry can you help?

Dear omizzle,

I'm happy to respond. :-)

Here's what's really tricky about this scenario: it's about a rate. The rate is "X marriages a year per 1,000 unmarried women." That's a fraction, and to determine what happens to the value of a fraction, we need to look at both the numerator and the denominator.

You were looking only at the numerator, number of marriages. Technically, there are slightly few 35 year old, because it's a very sad fact of life that a small number of people die between the ages of 16 and 35. If the marriage age went up from 16 to 35, all these unfortunate women would die unmarried. That, though, is a fraction of 1% of the population, so we can ignore that. Let's say, as a good approximation, that the number of 16 yo getting married in 1962 is essentially the same as the number of 35 yo woman getting married in 2012. We can agree the the numerator of the fraction, number of marriages, remains more or less unchanged.

My friend, you were ignoring the denominator of the fraction, the pool of unmarried women. Let's pretend, for simplicity, that in 1962, every woman got married at 16 yo. Let's pretend, for simplicity, that in 2012, every woman got married at 35 yo. How would the number of unmarried women older than 16 compare in those two years? In both cases, there would be some much older women, divorced or widowed, who would be single. In the idealized 1962 scenario, those older women who lost a husband would be the only unmarried women, and that would be a relatively small number. In the idealized 2012 scenario, to those older women we add ALL the women between the ages of 16 and 35, a huge number of women. Thus, the number of unmarried women older than 16 yo is much much bigger in 2012.

If we keep the numerator more or less the same size, and increase the denominator, what does this do to the fraction? Of course, the fraction is smaller, so the rate would be smaller.

Does all this make sense?
Mike :-)
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Re: UCLA Sociologist: Between 1962 and 2012, the marriage rate (that is th [#permalink]

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New post 13 May 2018, 21:55
kinjiGC wrote:
UCLA Sociologist: Between 1962 and 2012, the marriage rate (that is the percentage of adult women over 16 who get married for the first time each year) fell from 110 marriages a year per 1,000 unmarried women to just 37, a stunning 66 percent decline. Given this trend, there will likely be no women getting married for the first time by 2050!

Which of the following, if true, exposes a flaw in the sociologist’s reasoning?


A) The average age of marriage has increased dramatically in the past 20 years.

B) Today’s divorce rates are expected to rise dramatically over the next 40 years.

C) More women are expected to get married for a second and third time in the next 40 years.

D) Many women are deciding to simply live with their partners rather than get married.

E) Marriage is much less likely to occur today for the first time than it was in the 1960’s.


VERITAS PREP OFFICIAL SOLUTION:



The key in this problem is to consider some flaw with the trend that the sociologist cites. In other words, what might indicate that the trend will not continue? Consider the following scenario: 10 years ago, most women who would normally have married at 22 start waiting to get married until they are forty. Over the next twenty years, the marriage rate would go down dramatically because women are waiting to get married (and the average marriage age is going up). However, when they do decide to get married, the rate will go back up again. If this were true it would show a huge flaw in the sociologist’s reasoning so (A) is correct. For (B) and (C) divorce rates and second/third time marriages are unimportant because the argument is only about first time marriages. (D) and (E) would not indicate a flaw as they both seem to support the sociologist (that is the trend that marriage is disappearing). Answer is (A).
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Re: UCLA Sociologist: Between 1962 and 2012, the marriage rate (that is th [#permalink]

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New post 14 May 2018, 05:54
A) The average age of marriage has increased dramatically in the past 20 years. - this gives an alternative reason as to why the percentage has declined. HOLD.

B) Today’s divorce rates are expected to rise dramatically over the next 40 years.
- irrelevant.

C) More women are expected to get married for a second and third time in the next 40 years. - we are talking about the first time. Hence, irrelevant.

D) Many women are deciding to simply live with their partners rather than get married. - strengthens the argument's conclusion.

E) Marriage is much less likely to occur today for the first time than it was in the 1960’s. - strengthens again. Out.

IMO A.

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Re: UCLA Sociologist: Between 1962 and 2012, the marriage rate (that is th   [#permalink] 14 May 2018, 05:54

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