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

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

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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.

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Originally posted by kinjiGC on 31 May 2014, 07:33.
Last edited by Bunuel on 06 Jan 2019, 10:58, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: UCLA Sociologist: Between 1962 and 2012, the marriage rate (that is th  [#permalink]

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New post 28 Jul 2014, 12:53
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sivaspurthy wrote:
Hi
The marriage rate is 110 per thousand not 110%....but i donot understand how the OA is A....for me it was the best of the worsts... sort of option...eventhouh the average age has been increased the marriages after 16 years of age are taken into the consideration....so i donot see A as a fit

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siva


I love your comment about choice A...it certainly is the only thing left standing when you eliminate the obviously wrong answers. It's a deceptively effective answer, though. Choice A states that that average age has increased DRAMATICALLY over the past 20 years. The statistics presented in the argument show that the marriage rate has decreased dramatically from 1962 to 2012 and the author concludes that if the trend continues no women will be getting married by 2050. The flaw in the argument is that we haven't looked at how changes in the average age of marriage might impact the current marriage rate. If 20 years ago the average age of marriage was 20 (I'm making this number up but it's somewhat based on the "dramatic" increase cited in choice A) and now the average age of marriage is 40, you have a lot of woman who haven't decided to not get married, they just decided to postpone marriage. That would lead to a large group of women who are in the "pending marriage" state and we would need to wait for another 20 years to see if the marriage rate stabilizes (assuming no more dramatic increases in the marriage age).

Here is a comparison that may help to illustrate this phenomenon. Let's say I'm watching people walking out of a subway station. I'm counting people per minute and I'm at 40 people per minute for the first 20 minutes, then for the next 10 minutes the number slows to 10 people per minute. I conclude that the flow is slowing and pretty soon no one will be walking by. What really happened (in my made up world) is that most of the trains were delayed through some malfunction of the train system. These people will walk by eventually, they've just been delayed. The train delay can be compared with the "marriage delay", or the increase in the average age of marriage. Those marriages very well may still happen, they just may be delayed.

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

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New post 31 May 2014, 23:23
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aditya8062 wrote:
the premise states that: 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

now as per option A: The average age of marriage has increased dramatically in the past 20 years.
the point is even if average age of marriage has increased then also the marriage rate (as defined in passage) will not fall !!


That is the beauty of this question.

If the marriage age has increased dramatically, then most of the women are marrying late and that explains the fall in the marriage rate.

For example in 1962 : 110 women /1000 unmarried women got married.
Now in 2012 : only 37/1000 women got married.
The conclusion is : women are not getting married for first time.

Option A) says that the women are delaying the marriage.
If for example, in 2016, all of the women decided to get married, then the marriage rate will be back up.
And this exposes the flaw of the sociologist's reasoning.

Other options:

B) Today’s divorce rates are expected to rise dramatically over the next 40 years
- Out of scope - We are talking about the marriage rates.

C) More women are expected to get married for a second and third time in the next 40 years.
- That supports the sociologist's reasoning

D) Many women are deciding to simply live with their partners rather than get married.
- That supports the sociologist's reasoning

E) Marriage is much less likely to occur today for the first time than it was in the 1960’s.
- That supports the sociologist's reasoning
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Re: UCLA Sociologist: Between 1962 and 2012, the marriage rate (that is th  [#permalink]

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New post 31 May 2014, 22:58
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the premise states that: 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

now as per option A: The average age of marriage has increased dramatically in the past 20 years.
the point is even if average age of marriage has increased then also the marriage rate (as defined in passage) will not fall !!
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Re: UCLA Sociologist: Between 1962 and 2012, the marriage rate (that is th  [#permalink]

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New post 01 Jun 2014, 01:12
Quote:
If the marriage age has increased dramatically, then most of the women are marrying late and that explains the fall in the marriage rate

ask ur self can it ever happen ?

how is marriage rate defined in the question?
marriage rate is defined as:the percentage of adult women over 16 who get married for the first time each year
so even if the women marries at 16 ,20,30, 40, 50,60 ,70or even 80 then the marriage rate is not going to be affected (as long as she marries later than 16!!)

so lets say that option A is correct and we say that marriage age has now become 40 years !!
does it really affect the marriage rate? the answer is NO(because as long as women are getting married above 16 its oki) .please take note that i am talking in consideration of defined marriage rate
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Re: UCLA Sociologist: Between 1962 and 2012, the marriage rate (that is th  [#permalink]

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New post 01 Jun 2014, 07:44
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aditya8062 wrote:
Quote:
If the marriage age has increased dramatically, then most of the women are marrying late and that explains the fall in the marriage rate

ask ur self can it ever happen ?

how is marriage rate defined in the question?
marriage rate is defined as:the percentage of adult women over 16 who get married for the first time each year
so even if the women marries at 16 ,20,30, 40, 50,60 ,70or even 80 then the marriage rate is not going to be affected (as long as she marries later than 16!!)

so lets say that option A is correct and we say that marriage age has now become 40 years !!
does it really affect the marriage rate? the answer is NO(because as long as women are getting married above 16 its oki) .please take note that i am talking in consideration of defined marriage rate


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

The rate is calculated for every year. The rate actually states that how many women above 16 years of age are getting married in each year
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Re: UCLA Sociologist: Between 1962 and 2012, the marriage rate (that is th  [#permalink]

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New post 01 Jun 2014, 09:11
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The rate is calculated for every year. The rate actually states that how many women above 16 years of age are getting married in each year


any rate will be calculated with some parameters .here it is calculated each year !! so how it justifies the decrement of marriage rate?
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Re: UCLA Sociologist: Between 1962 and 2012, the marriage rate (that is th  [#permalink]

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New post 01 Jun 2014, 22:58
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aditya8062 wrote:
Quote:
If the marriage age has increased dramatically, then most of the women are marrying late and that explains the fall in the marriage rate

ask ur self can it ever happen ?

how is marriage rate defined in the question?
marriage rate is defined as:the percentage of adult women over 16 who get married for the first time each year
so even if the women marries at 16 ,20,30, 40, 50,60 ,70or even 80 then the marriage rate is not going to be affected (as long as she marries later than 16!!)

so lets say that option A is correct and we say that marriage age has now become 40 years !!
does it really affect the marriage rate? the answer is NO(because as long as women are getting married above 16 its oki) .please take note that i am talking in consideration of defined marriage rate


Responding to a pm:

Marriage age affects the rate and here is how.
Let's take a simple scenario of the year 1994. We don't need to have a simple scenario for the logic to make sense but for our ease, we will take easy numbers.

Forget all women who have been married once - at whatever age. Say, in the year 1994, there were 1000 females of each marriageable age who were unmarried i.e. there were 1000 16 yr olds ... 1000 30 yr olds and so on till say 1000 80 yr olds. Every year, out of each of these 1000, 110 get married. So out of the 1000 16 yr olds, 110 would get married in 1994, Out of 1000 17 yr olds, 110 would get married in 1994 and so on...

But what is happening in 2014? Say, the age of marriage has gone up to 30 yrs. Now the 16 to 29 yr old unmarried women are not marrying. Only women in the ages of 30 to 80 are getting married. Now the 1000 16 yr olds, 1000 17 yr olds etc are not getting married. Out of the 30 yr olds and above, 110 women of every 1000 are still getting married. But since we are adding up all women 16 yrs and above, the overall rate of first time marriage has gone down. Actually, the women are spending a smaller fraction of their lives as married women. But the same % might still be marrying. Hence the sociologist's argument is flawed.
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Re: UCLA Sociologist: Between 1962 and 2012, the marriage rate (that is th  [#permalink]

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New post 01 Jun 2014, 23:19
Quote:
Forget all women who have been married once - at whatever age. Say, in the year 1994, there were 1000 females of each marriageable age who were unmarried i.e. there were 1000 16 yr olds ... 1000 30 yr olds and so on till say 1000 80 yr olds. Every year, out of each of these 1000, 110 get married. So out of the 1000 16 yr olds, 110 would get married in 1994, Out of 1000 17 yr olds, 110 would get married in 1994 and so on...


i am not sure as why u have considered such interpretation. no where in the passage it is mentioned that we have to consider 1000 girls 16 years old ,1000 girls 17 years old .
on the contrary the marriage rate is talking of women in general over 16 years who are getting married for the first time. the rate (as defined) is talking of per thousand of women who are getting married in a year !!
lets say there are 100000 women over 16 years then as per that rate 11000 women must have married in the year 1962
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Re: UCLA Sociologist: Between 1962 and 2012, the marriage rate (that is th  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Jun 2014, 01:11
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aditya8062 wrote:
Quote:
Forget all women who have been married once - at whatever age. Say, in the year 1994, there were 1000 females of each marriageable age who were unmarried i.e. there were 1000 16 yr olds ... 1000 30 yr olds and so on till say 1000 80 yr olds. Every year, out of each of these 1000, 110 get married. So out of the 1000 16 yr olds, 110 would get married in 1994, Out of 1000 17 yr olds, 110 would get married in 1994 and so on...


i am not sure as why u have considered such interpretation. no where in the passage it is mentioned that we have to consider 1000 girls 16 years old ,1000 girls 17 years old .
on the contrary the marriage rate is talking of women in general over 16 years who are getting married for the first time. the rate (as defined) is talking of per thousand of women who are getting married in a year !!
lets say there are 100000 women over 16 years then as per that rate 11000 women must have married in the year 1962


Note that I specifically mentioned that I am going to take a very simplistic situation to highlight the logic. It doesn't matter whether there are 1000 16 yr olds or 10,000 etc. In its simplest form, think of a society where 1000 girls are born every year and 1000 80 yr old women die every year. Every year, each girl/woman increases one year in age and there are always 1000 women of every age. Looking at the rate as is done in this question, if the age of marriage is delayed, it will reduce the rate of marriage even though the actual rate within the marriageable age (say 30 to 80) might stay the same.
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Re: UCLA Sociologist: Between 1962 and 2012, the marriage rate (that is th  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Jun 2014, 02:36
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But what is happening in 2014? Say, the age of marriage has gone up to 30 yrs. Now the 16 to 29 yr old unmarried women are not marrying. Only women in the ages of 30 to 80 are getting married. Now the 1000 16 yr olds, 1000 17 yr olds etc are not getting married. Out of the 30 yr olds and above,110 women of every 1000 are still getting married


why the rate in 2014 will remain constant per 1000 in each category?
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Re: UCLA Sociologist: Between 1962 and 2012, the marriage rate (that is th  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Jun 2014, 15:10
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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 :-)
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Re: UCLA Sociologist: Between 1962 and 2012, the marriage rate (that is th  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 03 Jun 2014, 12:56
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Hmm, with all respect to my colleagues, I don't buy this explanation.

Let's go with Karishma's example in which 110 women of each age were getting married for the first time in 1994. If now in 2014 the rate has held for women 30 and up but dropped to 0 for women below 30, then the rate of marriage is clearly declining. No more women than before are getting married after 30, and no women below 30 are getting married. If marriage were not declining, we'd expect to see a drastic increase in marriages for women over 30, not a continuation of the same rates from 20 years ago.
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Originally posted by DmitryFarber on 03 Jun 2014, 12:22.
Last edited by DmitryFarber on 03 Jun 2014, 12:56, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: UCLA Sociologist: Between 1962 and 2012, the marriage rate (that is th  [#permalink]

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New post 03 Jun 2014, 12:25
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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.

A good question :-D


Hi aditya8062,

I will give you an analogy, please consider this if it helps.

In 1990, human mortality rate was 70/1000
In 2010, human mortality was 30/1000
According to this argument, if we simply extrapolate, in few years say 2050, no one will die. Is that possible ?
1. Yes, for some miracle, humans stop dying.
2. No, Why ?
The decrease in mortality rate is due to increased life expectancy for improved health care, genetic adaptations, availability of food etc... People who were dying at 70, now dying at 90.
What's the effect of this, we have increased population growth to accommodate the extra humans of 70-90 age. To give you scientific fact, in another 50 years, world population will be constant. Mortality rate = birth rate = Constant

Now, in this argument:

In 1962, first time marriage rate 110/1000
In 2012, first time marriage rate 37/100
by 2050 no one will marry for 1st time , is it possible ?
Conclusion:
1. Yes. The author believes :)
2. No, why ?
The bachelorhood span is increasing. Women who were marrying at 20, delaying their marriage to 40. So the decrease is transient and it will remain constant at say at 30/1000 some point in time. But for now, all we need to prove is this increase in bachelorhood span is happening. 'A' hits the spot.
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Re: UCLA Sociologist: Between 1962 and 2012, the marriage rate (that is th  [#permalink]

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New post 03 Jun 2014, 12:52
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ConnectTheDots, you make a compelling case. Perhaps I was too hasty in my earlier criticism of the question, but my point was that a correct answer should not require much speculation on our part, and it should certainly require no analysis of the psychology/motivations of unmarried women.

So how would I approach this question on the test?

Hmm, the sociologist is extrapolating this trend to say that marriage is going to fall to zero. What's wrong with this reasoning? The most obvious response would be that just because the rate has fallen doesn't mean it will continue to fall. "Past performance is not a predictor" and all that. We might just as well predict that the number is sure to rise from this historic low. However, this is unlikely to be an answer on the GMAT. It's a valid criticism, but it's too simple and easy.

So what else would I look for? I'd look for some other reason that the rate of marriages might have fallen. Looking at A, I might reason that this is out of scope, but if the average age of marriage has gone up over the past 20 years, then perhaps all the young women who didn't get married before are still going to get married later. This doesn't need to be true for A to work, but in any case it certainly opens up the possibility that the figure we're saying represents a temporary dip or a drop to a new normal rather than one point in a steady fall to zero. Once I look over the other answers (kinjiGC's eliminations are spot-on), A is the clear winner.
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Re: UCLA Sociologist: Between 1962 and 2012, the marriage rate (that is th  [#permalink]

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New post 28 Jul 2014, 10:54
Hi
The marriage rate is 110 per thousand not 110%....but i donot understand how the OA is A....for me it was the best of the worsts... sort of option...eventhouh the average age has been increased the marriages after 16 years of age are taken into the consideration....so i donot see A as a fit

regards
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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 2014, 11:12
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Got confused on this one ! haven't found a convincing answer choice
I don't see how A can be right :s
We are talking about girls aged 16 and above getting married for the first time, how would an age increase influence the data?
can someone explain ?
thank you :)
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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 2014, 13:22
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clipea12 wrote:
Got confused on this one ! haven't found a convincing answer choice
I don't see how A can be right :s
We are talking about girls aged 16 and above getting married for the first time, how would an age increase influence the data?
can someone explain ?
thank you :)


Hello clipea12

The fact that women who did not get married in 2012 does not mean they will NOT get married in 2050. On the other hand, those women just delay their marriage until 2050. It makes the average marriage age increase. That's the flaw of the author's conclusion.

Hope it helps.
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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 Dec 2014, 04:32
Here the percentage is a specific, it includes every women over 16 years of age,getting married for the first time, therefore even if the average age of marriage increases the percentage change would account for it. The options all seem to be vague.
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Re: UCLA Sociologist: Between 1962 and 2012, the marriage rate (that is th  [#permalink]

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New post 15 Dec 2014, 15:42
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Yes, actual numbers are given for the percentages, but that doesn't mean there is only one explanation for the change in percentage. There are at least 2 reasons why the average number of first time marriages decreased: 1) less people are getting married 2) the average age of marriage is increasing. The correct answer states that there was a dramatic increase in the average age of marriage so the conclusion that the marriage rate is trending to zero (attributing 100% of the change to less people getting married) cannot be true.

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