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Marriage Mayhem: Recent research data reveals a continued erosion of marriage in America.

* More than half of all couples now live together before getting married compared to just 10% three decades ago, claims a study, The Relationship Between Cohabitation and Marital Quality and Stability, by researchers at Penn State.

· The Census Bureau projects that within seven years families with children will comprise only 28% of all American households -- the leanest figure in a century.

· 31% of kids under 18 live either with single parents or no parents at all, more than double the 12 % in ‘60.

· The annual report from the National Marriage Project titled The State of Our Unions: The Social Health of Marriage in America, 2003 shows the shift away from marriage: More than a third of children are born outside of marriage, and the divorce rate continues to float around 50%. Since ‘60 there has been an 850 % increase in the number of cohabiting couples who live with children, and an estimated 40% of all children are expected to spend some time in a cohabiting household during their growing-up years. (PWB 8/15/03)

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