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JU sociologist Heather Downs weighs in on the rise of the “single-status” household

Heather Downs, an assistant professor of sociology at Jacksonville University, got a chance to offer her insights into changing family structure in a front-page article July 29 in the Sunday Florida Times-Union.

JU sociologist Heather Downs

Downs, who has a passion for family and intergenerational issues, discussed the factors leading to the Census Bureau’s first-time finding that married couples now make up less than half of American households.

More working women, shifting cultural values and less of an urge from younger people to get hitched all play a role, she told Times-Union writer Matt Soergel.

However, marriage still has a strong pull on society, she said.

“Studies have shown that people actually think very highly of marriage as an institution,” she was quoted in the story. “They have, across-the-board, very traditional views of marriage.”

Downs also pointed to the slow economy and middle-class erosion as other clues to declining marriage rates.

“People believe they need a certain financial status to get married,” she told the paper. “For the most part, people are waiting until they’re financially secure to get married.”

For the full article, see http://jacksonville.com/news/metro/2012-07-28/story/census-shows-more-claim-single-status-marriages-sink.