The Wax and Wane of Marriage: Prospects for Marriage in the 21st Century
Smock, Pamela. 2004. "The Wax and Wane of Marriage: Prospects for Marriage in the 21st Century." Journal of Marriage and Family, 66(4): 966-973.
The November 2004 issue of the Journal of Marriage and Family (JMF) is devoted to a symposium on the future of marriage. Smock's contribution to this special JMF issue is a commentary reflecting on the papers in the symposium. She discusses the "retreat from marriage" and its possible causes; the continued high value placed on legal marriage; the relationship between marriage and socioeconomic inequality; and the importance of social context for marriage stability. She then takes a retrospective look at how social scientists in the late 19th and early 20th centuries viewed similar issues for their times and draws some conclusions -- among them that similar sociodemographic factors have been used historically to explain very different demographic realities.