2016 Index of Culture and Opportunity
While the marriage rate ticked up slightly between 2013 and 2014, it has been trending downward for decades. Between 2004 and 2014, the marriage rate dropped by 8.3 marriages per 1,000 unmarried women, or nearly 20 percent. “[T]he declining marriage rate is not so much a reflection that marriage is no longer desired, but that, in a culture of distrust and divorce, it is fragile,” write Amber and David Lapp.
The divorce rate saw a minor drop during the decade between 2004 and 2014, but it has been declining since it peaked in the 1980s. “From 1979 to 2014, the divorce rate dropped from 5.3 per 1,000 to 3.2 per 1,000, a whopping 40 percent decrease. But there is more to the story, and it should make us cautious in our celebration,” explains Julie Baumgardner.
From 2005 to 2015, the percentage of 12th graders who use illicit drugs increased from 23.1 percent to 23.6 percent. “We didn’t lose the drug war…we gave up on it. Now, particularly in the teen population, drug use is going up again,” writes Seth Leibsohn.
The abortion rate has declined steadily. Between 2001 and 2011, the abortion rate declined by four abortions per 1,000 women of childbearing age. “The factors underlying this decline and the contemporaneous reduction in the number of abortion clinics are multifaceted but encouraging to those who hope to see human life respected,” writes Randall Wenger.