Pew Research survey reveals that 40% view marriage as becoming obsolete

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Marriage is increasingly optional and could be on its way to obsolescence,according to a survey of more than 2,600 Americans that examines changing attitudes about relationships today.

Among the 2,691 adults surveyed by the Pew Research Center last month, 39% say marriage is becoming obsolete, up from 28% who responded to the same question posed by Time magazine in 1978.

“If four in 10 are saying it’s becoming obsolete, they’re registering an awareness of a very important social change,” says Paul Taylor of Pew. “It doesn’t necessarily mean marriage is about to disappear or has disappeared.”

Census data reflect a declining percentage of married adults: 54% in 2010, down from 57% in 2000 and 72% in 1960.

At the same time, the median age at first marriage increased in 2010 to its highest ever — 28.2 for men and 26.1 for women, according to Census. That’s up from 26.8 and 25.1 in 2000.

Full story: Nearly 40% say marriage is becoming obsolete