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Study: Marriage Could Become Optional, Obsolete

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A new study out Thursday showed more and more Americans believe marriage could become optional or even obsolete.

The study was conducted by the Pew Research Center in association with Time Magazine.

It found that four out of 10 Americans believed marriage was becoming obsolete. In 1978, just 28 percent felt that way.

Dr. Stephen R. Treat, a couples and family therapist with Council for Relationships, wasn’t surprised or concerned.

“I think it’s a trend thing. Right now, there’s been so much transition in the definition of family,” Dr. Treat said.

The study found that about 29 percent of children under 18 currently live with a parent or parents who are unwed or no longer married, that’s five times more than the number from 1960.

According to the study, of the 29 percent of children living with unwed or no longer married parents, 15 percent have parents who are divorced or separated and 14 percent who were never married. Within those groups, the study found that six percent of the children have parents who are live-in couples who opted to raise children without getting married.

Dr. Treat says in addition to people’s own family history, most of his clients fear marriage for various reasons.

“It’s fear of that level of commitment, what happens when it doesn’t work? I don’t want to bind my finances, bind my life. What happens if we have a child and it doesn’t work,” Dr. Treat said, but added, in his view, marriage isn’t going anywhere.

The study agreed, stating while a growing number of Americans may feel marriage is not so necessary, almost 70 percent felt upbeat about the future of marriage and family.

Reported By: Elizabeth Hur, CBS 3

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