Fall 2012

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Alumni Life

Where Have All the Marriages Gone?

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Tell us what you think. E-mail comments or questions to the editors at letters@northwestern.edu.

Ever wonder about those strange designations we use throughout Northwestern to identify alumni of the various schools of the University? See the complete list.

Is anyone out there getting married anymore? If you look at the number of marriage announcements trickling into Northwestern magazine’s inbox, you might think not.

Ten years ago — before the wedding party could live-tweet the nuptials — we would publish 50 or more marriage announcements in an issue. That number has dropped by nearly two-thirds.

This trend likely reflects the larger marriage demographics. Just 51 percent of adults 18 and older were married in 2010, down from 57 percent in 2000.

Social media have likely taken a bite out of our marriage announcements, which have declined steadily since fall 2006, when Facebook made its services accessible to anyone with an email address.

Marriage 101 professor Alexandra Hambright Solomon (GSESP98, 02), an assistant professor at the Center for Applied Psychological and Family Studies and a licensed clinical psychologist at the Family Institute, also points out that people are waiting longer to get married. Perhaps, Solomon suggests, as people get older, they are less tied to their alma mater. 

On the whole, Solomon says, young people often express cynicism about the institution of marriage, “but despite that,” Solomon says, “people in their 20s by and large want to marry and will marry.”

We just hope they remember to send us a note when they say, “I do.” To share your nuptial news, send details to alums@northwestern.edu.