It seems that 2020 marks the year the United States supposedly hit its lowest marriage rate in more than 100 years. Still, the popularity of reality television shows such as “Married at First Sight” and new research show that it’s not a lack of desire among adults to get married that is causing the slump, but a struggle among many to find the perfect partner. Furthermore, this struggle could put the nation at risk in the long run. New data show that a decline in the marriage rate goes hand in hand with a decrease in the fertility rate. Researchers are now warning that without appropriate interventions, a continuous slide in the nation’s fertility rate will lead to the aging and shrinking of the U.S. population, a downfall in productivity, and instability in financing old-age programs such as Social Security and Medicare. [tweet_embed] May 10, 2022[/tweet_embed] “When fewer women are married, fewer babies are born. In fact, about half of the decline in fertility since 2008 can be attributed to changes in marital composition, according to an analysis by Lyman Stone,” Wendy Wang, director of research at the Institute for Family Studies, stated in the recently published research brief. Gallup research shows that since 2015, less than 50% of U.S. adults have been registered as married, a decline over the years from a consistent 64% between the years 1978 and 1983. Since the Great Recession in 2007, marriage and fertility rates have consistently declined. According to data cited in Wang’s brief, marriage significantly impacts fertility rates because married women have a higher fertility rate than unmarried ones. In 2020, for example, the birth rate for married women was 81 per 1,000 between the ages of 15-44. It was just 39 per 1,000 for unmarried women of the same age. [tweet_embed] May 10, 2022[/tweet_embed] She further noted that an American woman is expected to have roughly 1.6 children in her lifetime, a figure well below the population replacement level of 2.1 children per woman. “Simply put, other things being equal, if the marriage rate had remained the same since 2008, the U.S. fertility rate would have been around replacement level,” Wang stated. Nevertheless, a YouGov survey by the IFS and the Wheatley Institution found that the leading reason which people cite for not having the number of children they desire is, “I am still looking for the right spouse/partner.” Some 44% of Americans ages 18-55 who desire to have children (first or more) stated this reason compared to 36% who cite financial reasons, and 25% who blame their lifestyle and career choices. “Finding the right spouse/partner is especially important among childless adults. A majority of childless adults who want children (60%) cite this as a reason for their unmet fertility desire, compared with 16% of parents who want more children,” Wang pointed out. [tweet_embed] May 10, 2022[/tweet_embed] A mere 37% of childless adults cited financial reasons for not having children, while 28% pointed to their lifestyle or career choices for not having children. Actor Dean Cain talks about faith, angels, and his role in 'No Vacancy' In "The Puzzle of Falling US Birth Rates since the Great Recession" by Melissa S. Kearney, Phillip B. Levine, and Luke Pardue, published in the Journal of Economic Perspectives earlier this year, researchers recorded seeing no signs that the trend in falling fertility rates would change anytime soon and suggested that changing cultural norms are forcing the decline.